40. The Wright Brothers: The Fathers of Aviation

In today's world, it is not unusual for to board a plane, and be halfway around world within hours. The jumbo jetliners in use are commonplace in most developed countries, but there a time, not long ago, before air travel even possible. That was before Orville, and Wilbur built and flew their first aircraft in the 20th Century.

On December 17, 1903, the brothers their historic flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, opening a new era in travel. Their contributions the new science of aeronautics continued for at 10 years after that historic day. What separated Wright brothers from other aviation pioneers was that brothers developed an effective mechanism to control their . Their three-axis control system is still in use , more than 100 years after its development.

The flight was not a very long one. It only 120 feet long, 10 feet high, and 12 seconds in duration, but it was flight. piloted the plane, as Wilbur ran alongside. There only five eyewitnesses to the flight, but one captured the image on film, and the rest aviation history.

The brothers were very protective of new invention, and made it difficult for reporters chronicle their efforts. This led to widespread rumors the entire thing was a hoax. For the several years, the brothers worked to refine their machine in secret, leading to more doubt. However, 1908, the brothers took their invention to Le , France to put on an exhibition. Wilbur guided aircraft making turns and other maneuvers, which amazed crowd. Soon, the Wright Brothers were famous. They the way people travel.