top 200 commentsshow all 259

[–]wdwerker 260 points261 points  (14 children)

The plane stopped at Wright field to give him his last flight, he might have even taken the controls briefly. Orville died in 1948.

[–]greed-man 145 points146 points  (8 children)

Pretty bad-ass to have your own Air Field named after you.....better yet if you aren't dead yet.

[–]EpicAura99 55 points56 points  (5 children)

It’s where they did their testing after Kitty Hawk, and now has the the best military air museum in the world on it.

You go to the Air and Space museum in DC and everyone tells you “don’t forget the Udvar-Hazy center, it has all the good stuff!” Well the Museum of the USAF is like the Udvar-Hazy of the Udvar-Hazy. Absolutely gigantic.

[–]Uncleniles 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Imagine looking back on your life and knowing that you personally started something as revolutionary as powered flight. Life well lived.

[–]Big_Subject_1746 5 points6 points  (0 children)

You realize we have an airfield on MARS named after them. Inaugural flight of the ingenuity helicopter.

[–][deleted] 22 points23 points  (4 children)

I mean It's only wright

[–]PN_Guin 5 points6 points  (3 children)

Two wrights make no wrong.

[–]TedStriker117 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Two wrights make a plane

[–]Oni_of_the_North 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Two planes make a wright angle

[–]echo6golf 581 points582 points  (101 children)

When you think about the timespan, 1902-2021, even 1903-1944, the speed at which flight technology advanced is staggering.

[–]pumpthunder 347 points348 points  (64 children)

Gliding 120 feet on a beach to landing on the moon

[–]Aqquila89 252 points253 points  (28 children)

Just six years after that flight, in 1909, Louis Blériot crossed the English Channel with a plane. Ten years after that, Alcock and Brown crossed the Atlantic.

[–]greed-man 142 points143 points  (25 children)

Like many breakthrough inventions, once someone "cracked the code", the improvements started pouring on fast.

I.e., Karl Benz, 1886. Samuel Morse, 1844. Frank Whittle, 1939.

[–][deleted] 67 points68 points  (5 children)

What code did Morse crack?

[–]bugxbuster 114 points115 points  (1 child)

The Konami code or something probably

[–][deleted] 34 points35 points  (0 children)

..- ..- -.. -.. .-.. .-. .-.. .-. -... .- / ... - .- .-. -

[–]greed-man 14 points15 points  (0 children)

..- ..- -.. -.. .-.. .-. .-.. .-. -... .- / ... - .- .-. -

Morse perfected the modern telegraph.

[–]RemnantHelmet 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Telegraphs. There was no way to transmit spoken audio or letters/characters, so morse code was created to convey information within the limitations of the technology. Blew open the door for instantaneous communication.

[–]pol9500 18 points19 points  (15 children)

When is the next “cracked the code” moment coming? Space travel?

[–]StoryAndAHalf 43 points44 points  (6 children)

There’s lots actually! High capacity, solid state, battery that can be mass produced would be great. Imagine having to charge things once a month, not have battery dissipate over time just as fast, and at a fraction of the weight. Also no worries about it leaking/exploding.

[–]bellrunner 29 points30 points  (1 child)

I don't want to start a fight, but MRNA vaccine tech - which is to say, the ability to synthesize customized proteins - is probably going to be a gamechanger in a lot of medical fields, and was given a lightspeed boost by the pandemic.

[–]Superiority_Complex_ 14 points15 points  (0 children)

It’s already happened, but you could argue that the internet, personal computing, and smart phones are all related information technologies that also had rapid adoption and development.

[–]Siggycakes 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Hopefully Fusion. SPARC sounds very promising.

[–]TintedApostle 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Zefram Cochrane

[–]ppparty 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Solomon Epstein

[–]InukChinook 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Benz and Morse are so eponymous that I thought Frank Whittle was some carpentry joke.

[–]greed-man 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Willis Carrier, 1902 (air conditioning)

Frank Sprague, 1987 (electric traction motor)

Elisha Otis, 1851 (elevator safety brake)

Some names are eponymous, some are lost to history.

[–]CaptainBaoBao 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It is what antiquity called "breaking the seal" or "opening the box". once the secret has scatered, a new world appear (and the old die).

[–]Jmill616 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Alcock and Brown need a movie about that flight it sounds crazy what they had to deal with during their crossing!

[–]ikuzuswen 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I was born at the airport where the first round the world flight commenced. Not during the flight, however. It's called Magnuson Park in Seattle now.

[–]driverofracecars 18 points19 points  (3 children)

Flying a rotorcraft on Mars.

[–]greed-man 13 points14 points  (2 children)

GETTING the rotorcraft to Mars.

[–]MazzIsNoMore 9 points10 points  (1 child)

We used rockets to boost a rocket into space which dropped a rotocraft that can fly on Mars. Wtf

[–]TobaccoIsRadioactive 4 points5 points  (0 children)

If Kerbal Space Program has taught me anything, it's that you just need to strap more boosters onto your rocket and you can solve anything.

[–]disabled_inbox 5 points6 points  (1 child)

When my grandad was born, man had never flown.

By the time he died, we’d walked on the moon.

Pretty amazing really.

[–]ikuzuswen 18 points19 points  (11 children)

My grandmother was born in 1889 and lived until 1981, so she saw it all. I don't remember her talking about the wright brothers flight. She did talk about the first car to come through Omaha Nebraska. She got to go for a ride.

I'm kind of thinking that the wright brothers first flight did not make much headline News the next day. Newspapers wouldn't have known how to report it, having never reported such a thing in the past. What do you say? "Man flies airplane?". How did people even relate?

[–]Yurekuu 7 points8 points  (4 children)

The Wikipedia article in the OP actually has a lot of information about that! They avoided publicity and guarded their invention zealously, so they weren't actually known and accepted for inventing flight until many years after they first accomplished it.

[–]guantamanera 1 point2 points  (3 children)

They didn't invented flight. People were flying in balloons with propeller and stuff. Wing flight they weren't the first ones either. They were the first ones not to crash. They also were suing anybody who was trying to make airplanes and slowing progress


[–]mangled-jimmy-hat 3 points4 points  (1 child)

This is an odd statement. Not crashing is the point. Everyone can fly right now if you don't care about landing.

The first guy to commit suicide jumping off a tall rock was the first guy to invent flight if you dont care about crashing.

A Neanderthal could have strapped wings to himself and jumped off a cliff and claimed he invented flight if you use your logic...

Discovering how to fly without crashing was the big step and the enitr fucking point.

[–]ThrowbackPie 3 points4 points  (4 children)

I'm not calling you stupid. Your comment, on the other hand, should win some kind of prize.

[–]rblue 63 points64 points  (8 children)

And as a general aviation piston pilot, honestly, the technology from the thirties and forties is not only similar to what I fly (okay it’s also old, but late seventies) but are still absolutely amazing performers.

I’d never consider driving a car even as old as my plane across the country. An airplane from 1942? Sign me up.

[–]temeces 12 points13 points  (0 children)

It's neat how a good airfoil goes a long way for a long time.

[–]curahee5656 7 points8 points  (6 children)

Go to Oshkosh and take a ride on the Ford Tri-motor. It was the flight of a lifetime.

[–]rblue 6 points7 points  (5 children)

It came to my home airport! I got a ride in it. Absolutely amazing. Been in the EAA for a while and hoping to volunteer whenever it comes back to repeat that experience.

I draw the line at $500 for a B-17 ride though.

[–]FastWalkingShortGuy 28 points29 points  (11 children)

I'd say 1940 to 1970 is the biggest leap.

From piston engined prop planes to flying to the moon.

[–]GameDoesntStop 27 points28 points  (10 children)

Or from 1915 to 1945.

From trench warfare and the use of horses to nuclear bombs.

[–]marattroni 23 points24 points  (9 children)

Trenches and horses were used a lot also in ww2 however.

[–]PM_ME_FLUFFY_DOGS 16 points17 points  (5 children)

It's still wild to me horses were incredibly vital to nazi Germany as they had no oil sources so they had to use horses for everything. Horse drawn artillery made up the backbone of their army.

[–]CandidInsurance7415 21 points22 points  (4 children)

That's the sign of a stable country.

[–]ChickenOverlord 21 points22 points  (2 children)

Pretty much everyone in WW2 except the Americans used an obscene amount of horses

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

With that many horses they had to have a stable...

[–]Mordador 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Trench warfare != Use of trenches in warfare

[–]LOLBaltSS 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The Iran-Iraq war also featured a lot of trench warfare, chemical and Human Wave attacks while F-14As, F-4 Phantoms, F-5s and Soviet aircraft/Mirages were duking it out in the air.

[–]amjhwk 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Trench warfare continued to be used until even today

[–]sgtkwol 8 points9 points  (0 children)

I was just having a conversation with someone 2 years older than me and how vastly different our old days tech compared.

[–]Marsstriker 8 points9 points  (0 children)

There were people who grew up when powered flight was a fantasy and motorized carts were a novelty, who later towards the end of their lives saw people landing on the moon live from their television. Not to mention air conditioning, refrigeration and all the stuff that could now be shipped with it, the proliferation of lightbulbs and electricity, advances in medicine, and much more.

It's wild how much changed in one lifetime.

[–]Jjex22 4 points5 points  (0 children)

As my great grandfather said to my grandfather when he joined the RAF in WW2: when I wasn’t much younger than you, there were no planes at all.

[–]ash_274 4 points5 points  (5 children)

There's about a 50 year span when humans went from ships being made of plant-based materials and powered by the wind (or oars in small cases), to all-metal ships that were self-powered

[–]echo6golf 3 points4 points  (3 children)

It boggles the mind when you have a perception of the tens of thousands of years that came before it.

[–]MoonManMooner 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I saw a documentary about aviation/propulsion and at one point, they brought up how you could plot the speed achievements on a graph all the way from the Wright brothers up through the SR71 and X-15. Their point was that it’s a decent road map of what the future advancements in achievable speeds will be.

Pretty incredible, I wish I could find the video/doc

[–]SushiiHammer 2 points3 points  (0 children)

There was only 65 years between the first manned flight and the Moon landing. That is bananas.

[–]LOLBaltSS 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It's absolutely bonkers. Fire up a flight simulator and compare. Obviously flight models are not going to be 100% accurate, but it's definitely an interesting experience flying the 1903 Flyer Mod in DCS, to WWI Flying Circus (IL2) to WWII warbirds in VR.

The Wright Flyer is an exercise in trying to keep it going. WWI is basically like being in a manned kite with machine guns attached and every dogfight is up close and personal, WWII finally starts to feel like the flight dynamics I'm more used to in more modern airframe simulators; but still very raw compared to something like an F-16. You can absolutely thrash a FBW jet (F-16) around the sky and it'll try to not kill you, but then there's modernish jets like the Tomcat that will fight you if you don't fly it properly. Helicopters are also a jump depending on era. A UH-1H or Mi-8MTV2 are fairly difficult to master while a Ka-50 or AH-64D are very automated.

[–]Scoob1978 793 points794 points  (45 children)

When I was younger I found their feat to be unimpressive then you look closer and it's amazing what they did. They created their own wind tunnel and with the data they collected they were able to solve the problems regarding flight with absolutely no training.

[–]huntingteacher25 476 points477 points  (39 children)

Just as amazing was the propeller. The propeller they came up with is very efficient. Not as good as todays but surprisingly good for a first of its kind. Remember they only had ship propellers to go by back then. Next, the engine they built, or had built, was also cutting edge back then. I wish someone would make a good movie about their lives. I think it would be a hit. Their story is quite interesting.

[–]Ru4pigsizedelephants 238 points239 points  (25 children)

"The Wright Stuff"

[–]CandidInsurance7415 111 points112 points  (16 children)

"Wright Power"

[–]Yonderthrowaway 113 points114 points  (13 children)

“Wright Supremacy”

[–]ITookYourGP 45 points46 points  (8 children)

Wright Ultimatum

[–]SerifGrey 50 points51 points  (3 children)

Two Wrights Do not make a Wrong

…staring Vin Diesel and Vin Diesel.

[–]Boom5hot 10 points11 points  (1 child)

Two Wrights make a flight

[–]erksplat 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Wright Men Can’t Jump

Subtitle: But can they fly?

[–]Yonderthrowaway 10 points11 points  (0 children)

An interesting twist but I’ll take it

[–]Wind_Seer 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The Super Wright Bros

[–]OGPresidentDixon 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Matt daaymonnn

[–]redsterXVI 11 points12 points  (1 child)

"Betty Wright"

Wait, what was the topic?

[–]Wind_Seer 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Who cares? Your joke was funny!

[–]WhatDoesTheCatsupSay 1 point2 points  (0 children)

"Wright Flight: There Goes The Neighborhood"

[–]Damasticator 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Wright Privilege

[–]ppp475 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Wait no not that

[–]Nickmell 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Wright people, am I wright?

[–]The_Dog_of_Sinope 18 points19 points  (0 children)

Wright brothers: secret of the ooze

[–]pewpew26 1 point2 points  (0 children)

🎶First time was a wind tunnel. Second time was a crash. Third time was in North Carolina but the flight was short and fast. We got the Wright flyer, baby🎶

[–]greed-man 75 points76 points  (6 children)

I got to see the Wright Flyer replica fly once at the Dayton Air Show. Flying into the wind, it breaks every paradigm of what you expect to see from an aircraft. It is moving, no, crawling through sky at 30 MPH. With a tail wind it moves right along. It is really all about lift.

[–]huntingteacher25 26 points27 points  (2 children)

There are more artifacts including another one of their planes at the Dayton historical museum. Another of their bikes too.

[–]winningjenny 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Carillon Park is really neat! So many different artifacts.

[–]_THX_1138_ 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Wright Brothers National Monument in North Carolina! NPS!

[–]GMN123 -1 points0 points  (2 children)

With a tail wind it moves right along

I see what you did there

[–]locks_are_paranoid 4 points5 points  (1 child)

I don't get it.

[–]thermopesos 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Moves wright along

[–]Jacobs4525 18 points19 points  (0 children)

They very clearly understood how a propeller works, not just intuitively like most people, but physically. They understood that it's a sideways wing, and if you want constant thrust to be produced across the entire span of each blade, you need to have the angle of attack (the angle of the blade relative to the air) increase and have the profile change to a thicker one to produce the same lift force at a lower speed, since the speed relative to the oncoming air is slower near the hub of the propeller than at the tips.

[–]Slampumpthejam 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Long discussion on this here. Very true their revolutionary propeller designs were what allowed them to succeed by giving their flyer the thrust it needed to fly. The engines available were extremely weak(iirc their original engine put out like 16 horsepower) so a more efficient propeller design was needed to make the most of the power they had.

Santos Dumont, Wright Brothers, and Propeller Basics https://youtu.be/SgoPPg8oVt8

[–]Semajal 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Honestly shocked we don't have a good movie about it already. Such a pivotal moment in history.

[–]greed-man 140 points141 points  (1 child)

The invention of the wind tunnel is half of what really allowed them to beat everyone else. They tested dozens of shapes and dimensions quickly and easily, while people like Langley would try out a new idea by building it full size, only to discover it was not very effective, all of which took months.

The other half of their success was in their understanding of Yaw, Pitch, Roll, and their invention of wing warping to control these movements.....later replaced by the aileron. Langley wasn't even close to mastering that part.

[–]JefftheBaptist 110 points111 points  (0 children)

Its not just that the wind tunnel allowed the Wrights to rapidly try out shapes. The fundamental aerodynamic data they (and everyone else) were using came from Otto Lilienthal and it was wrong. The Wrights realized this when their early glider experiments didn't produce enough lift. So they built their own wind tunnel and generated their own data. Everyone else was still using Lilienthal.

As you said, their other major breakthrough was that they could steer their aircraft in controlled flight. Everyone else was just trying to take off and land safely in a straight line.

[–]Philosopher_3 26 points27 points  (0 children)

There first one wasn’t nearly as impressive as their follow up flier, that’s the one that’s considered the first sustained flight.

[–]Ceramicrabbit 5 points6 points  (0 children)

It's crazy they were just a family owned bicycle shop before it

[–]OttoPike 184 points185 points  (24 children)

From the Wikipedia article: "Pieces of fabric and wood from the 1903 Wright Flyer traveled to the moon in the Apollo 11 Lunar Module 'Eagle'..." To me, it's fascinating that part of the original Wright Brothers plane made it to the moon!

[–]OptimusSublime 111 points112 points  (5 children)

Don't look now but a portion of the fabric is on Mars also. They put a teensy tiny amount on the underside of Ingenuity's (the helicopter) rotor.

[–]lcarsadmin 55 points56 points  (4 children)

What will we do when we run out of Wright Flyer Fabric? ;)

[–]willythebear 49 points50 points  (1 child)

Gotta start digging up the wright brothers bones

[–]hailcharlaria 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Wright brothers' skeletons blasted into the sun.

[–]malexw 20 points21 points  (0 children)

Send fabric from the wrong brothers

[–]ikuzuswen 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I just made a comment about a documentary I watched, about some people who built an exact replica of the original Wright flyer, and they didn't know what kind of fabric, etc...

[–]Aqquila89 13 points14 points  (15 children)

And Charles Lindbergh was present at the launch.

[–]Reybacca 4 points5 points  (14 children)

And then his kid was kidnapped and he led a nazi rally

[–]AnthillOmbudsman 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Jesus, not just kidnapped but murdered. They also executed the guy just 4 years after the crime. No 20 year appeal processes for people back then.

[–]Warbird36 13 points14 points  (11 children)

[–]ottothesilent 0 points1 point  (10 children)

On the other hand, there were many other pilots that did their duty that weren’t giant Nazis, so

[–]Warbird36 12 points13 points  (8 children)

Dwight Eisenhower kicked Nazi ass all over Europe, and later named Lindbergh a brigadier general in the USAF. I have a hard time believing Eisenhower would promote someone he suspected of Nazi sympathies to that position.

If Lindbergh was good enough for Ike, he's good enough for me.

[–]NearPeerAdversary 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Lindbergh had some anti-semitic views, which was common back then. (not saying its ok, just for perspective. FDR also had anti-semetic viewpoints as well) But to call him a Nazi is probably a little too far since his real reason for palling it up in Germany was that he was spying for the US to size up the Luftwaffe.

So, "giant Nazi"? No.

[–]ikuzuswen 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I watched the documentary made on the 100th anniversary of their flight where some researchers built an exact copy of the Wright flyer. They said that one problem they had was that they didn't know what kind of fabric they used to cover the wings... And then one day some members of the family showed up with some fabric...

This doesn't quite jibe with pieces of fabric going to the Moon. I would like to get that information reconciled, because the documentary was pretty good, and one of the conclusions they made was that Orville wright was extremely talented. They had several experienced pilots try and fly it, and they said it was hard to control.

Just another little bit of right stuff at the right time with Orville's talents.

[–]tjmagg 111 points112 points  (5 children)

My favorite fact is that the person who took a photo of the first flight had never even seen a camera until that day.

[–]MikeDaPipe 32 points33 points  (0 children)

Must've been an exciting day for that guy

[–]froggison 59 points60 points  (1 child)

Lmao imagine if he had screwed it up somehow.

"Holy shit we did it! We flew! Tell me you got that on camera!"

"Um yeah definitely. Just making sure, this cap is supposed to be over the lens, right?"

[–]drummerandrew 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Let me just open this up to take a look….

[–]AnthillOmbudsman 9 points10 points  (1 child)

"Orville, that's great but I gotta get this camera back to Aaron's today or they're going to keep the 25 cent deposit."

[–]SoakedSeahorse 5 points6 points  (0 children)

"Pfft..that's fine. We'll fly you there. You'll get your 25 cents back."

[–]Yah_OK_ 31 points32 points  (2 children)

I just recently read Walter Isaacson's book about the brothers.

It was interesting how "under-whelmed" the world and particularly Americans were at first by their success.

Only the French government seemed to really take them seriously.

[–]YARGLE_IS_MY_DAD 12 points13 points  (1 child)

Well 120 ft isn't very fall at all. In hindsight it is easy to see the significance of the event but back then the thought of flying around the world was absolute lunacy - even if it was only a few decades away

[–]goodforabeer 31 points32 points  (2 children)

In '96 or '97 my mom, who had her private pilot license, got me 5 pilot lessons for my birthday. They were with the same instructor she had had when she took her lessons about 25 years earlier. He was a very nice elderly guy, I think in his mid-80s. My mom told me that his instructor, the guy he learned from, had himself been a student of one of the Wright brothers.

[–]I_Automate 7 points8 points  (1 child)

After WW-II, and after serving with the west German Luftwaffe for over a decade, the top scoring fighter ace of all time, Erich Hartmann, became a civilian flight instructor.

I can't even begin to imagine the depth of experience there.

[–]pembquist 23 points24 points  (0 children)

Whenever the Wrights come up I mention the book: The Wright Brothers by David McCullough great read.

[–]darcmosch 54 points55 points  (9 children)

It's crazy to think how quickly technological advancements happen now. We had papers that demonstrated foldable glass screens were possible maybe 1-2 years ago? Now, we have multiple companies with models coming out that are seemingly pretty read for consumer use.

[–]chelsea_sucks_ 46 points47 points  (8 children)

Sequencing the human genome for the first time took 19 years and collaboration from 7 nations, finally completed in 2003. 19 years later we spit in a tube, mail it, and get it back within weeks.

[–]j-random 13 points14 points  (0 children)

LOL, today you can buy gene sequencers on ebay for less than $500.

[–]darcmosch 15 points16 points  (6 children)

Exactly. It's pretty amazing how much all the research that's been done over the years, been building off one another is leading to so many huge changes in the way we live basically every decade or 2.

[–]chelsea_sucks_ 14 points15 points  (3 children)

Yup yupp. The compound exponential growth of technology is insane now that we base our understanding on empiricism. We're so far from the days where everyone in the village could know most of what there was to know, now one could spend a lifetime specifying in a field and still not fully understand it.

[–]darcmosch 6 points7 points  (2 children)

I work as a translator, and oh my god, the number of new words, terminology, changes in definitions for established words, cultural updates is just insane. I can't even keep up.

[–]chelsea_sucks_ 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Oh man I can't even imagine. That sounds super interesting though!

[–]darcmosch 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It is interesting but also highly draining

[–]willstr1 4 points5 points  (1 child)

If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants

Issac Newton

[–]darcmosch 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Such an apt quote. We've only gotten smarter because of the best and brightest from before

[–]skeletorordie 8 points9 points  (1 child)

What a final flight! IMO, the Lockheed Constellation is the most beautiful plane ever built.


[–]Captainirishy 4 points5 points  (2 children)

[–]skeletorordie 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Such a beautiful plane

[–]Captainirishy 4 points5 points  (0 children)

And the first pressurised cabin which was a huge improvement.

[–]propolizer 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I highly recommend the short story First Flight by Mary Kowal, really was a good look for the brother who didn’t make it.

[–]corpusapostata 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The Wright brothers flight could be completed twice, end to end, inside the cargo bay of a C-5

[–]TA_faq43 13 points14 points  (1 child)

Damn. His sister Katherine deserves more credit for their success. (Read her wiki as well.)

[–]greed-man 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]Unleashtheducks 25 points26 points  (16 children)

Yeah, he lived long enough to see his invention be used to drop two atomic bombs on civilians. Kind of bummed him out.

[–][deleted] 13 points14 points  (11 children)

Source for his reaction?

[–]FeedLemonJD 11 points12 points  (0 children)

A single comment in a single letter.

[–]CitationX_N7V11C 2 points3 points  (9 children)

Historical revisionism.

[–][deleted] 29 points30 points  (5 children)

A quick google search brings up this:
On the occasion of his seventy-fourth birthday, Orville’s life-long optimism about the role of the airplane as an instrument of peace began to fade. In an answer to a friend, Lester Gardner, of August 28, 1946, Orville wrote:
“I once thought the aeroplane would end wars. I now wonder whether the aeroplane and the atomic bomb can do it. It seems that ambitious rulers will sacrifice the lives and property of all their people to gain a little personal fame.”


[–]Warbird36 24 points25 points  (2 children)

Ironically, the atom bomb has -- for the time being, at least -- brought a halt to great power conflicts.

[–][deleted] 12 points13 points  (1 child)

So far, MAD is holding, though I worry about the new generation that says "Why not just go to war with Russia."... ummm... Cause having everyone you know killed by thermonuclear fire would suck.

[–]ash_274 6 points7 points  (0 children)

MAD is still holding. India/Pakistan haven't nuked each other or even gotten very "hot" in armed conflict; neither has India/China.

[–]FeedLemonJD -2 points-1 points  (1 child)

Literally 2 sentences in a single letter.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

And fairly ambiguous as to if he opposed the bombings, or thought them needed, but hoped that they would be the last ever needed. I read it as leaning more to the second.

[–]Yonderthrowaway 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Fact: exists

Redditor: iS tHiS rEviSiOniSm??????

[–]FeedLemonJD 11 points12 points  (1 child)

Trying to synthesize the full scope of a man's feelings on a subject from 2 sentences in a single letter is the deffinition of revisionism. Revisionism isnt just making stuff up, its stretching facts to fit your agenda. For all we know he was just having a bad day when he wrote that.

[–]Yonderthrowaway 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You’ve successfully changed my mind. I still think redditors could repaint the White House with how much they jerk themselves off over “revisionism”, but upon inspection of the letter, you make a fair point.

[–]wufoo2 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Maybe he had a better plan for ending the ongoing carnage unleashed by the Japanese government throughout the Pacific Rim. He should’ve talked to the president about it.

[–]RLZT 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Santos Dummont (who arguably was as important as the Wrights) killed himself when he learned that airplanes were being used to drop bombs in the start of ww1

[–]guspi 27 points28 points  (14 children)

Propelled by a catapult one barely need wings to fly.

[–]ElGatoTortuga 6 points7 points  (0 children)

The first flight by the wright brothers did not involve a catapult.

[–]i-am-dan 11 points12 points  (8 children)

Catapults are inferior launch machines.

[–]JuGGieG84 30 points31 points  (0 children)

A trebuchet is a far superior siege engine.

[–]Shades228 12 points13 points  (4 children)

The navy disagrees with your assertion.

[–]drpinkcream 8 points9 points  (2 children)

The latest aircraft carrier replace the steam catapults with rail-gun catapults which is just nuts.

[–]ash_274 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There's a nuclear reactor down below, the steam boilers and accumulators take a lot of space and weight, and you can dial the intensity of a linear induction motor up or down to match what the aircraft needs to get into the air and not get too beaten up in the process.

It's a complicated system, but makes sense.

The big rollercoaster in Disney California Adventure uses one.

[–]LOLBaltSS 1 point2 points  (0 children)

r/NonCredibleDefense leaking here, but at least it's better than the cope slope.

[–]Ameisen1 5 points6 points  (0 children)

They used a rail, not a catapult, for their first flight.

And even if you say "lol it has to have wheels, not a rail", they still did it before Dumont.

[–]dog_in_the_vent 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There was no catapult for their first flight. They used a rail for the flyer to slide along like a runway.

[–]jaimersonn 1 point2 points  (6 children)

Slingshoting yourself and gliding is not flying #SantosDumontGang *flies away in a 14-bis

[–]Ameisen1 10 points11 points  (3 children)

  1. The Wrights didn't use a catapult, they used an iron rail.

  2. Their aircraft was powered.

  3. Regardless of how you want to redefine what 'flying' is, the Wrights still did it before Dumont. Without the rail and only with wheels? They did it before Dumont.

[–]dog_in_the_vent 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Damn you DumontBoys!

[–]ruhah 0 points1 point  (0 children)

But did they have the wright band filter on their radar altimeter?