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Just six months ago we flew from Washington to Dallas Texas on an Airbus A330. Then we boarded an Airbus A380 and flew to Sydney, Australia. The Airbus A380 is the largest commercial airplane made. It can carry 500 passengers. We flew non-stop 17 hours, the longest single flight on the globe. But it all started here in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in December 1903, with the Wright brothers making glider flights (a small glider without an engine can be seen in the background). Then they made a series of powered flights with the airplane seen in the foreground. In these earliest models, they were emulating birds, getting "lift" by flexing the wing and cupping the air. By the late 20s and 30s, after aeronautical engineering was born, taking advantage of Bernoulli's Principle made more sense. The cross sections of wings are shaped with the upper surface displacing more air than the lower surface. Since air has to travel faster on the top there is less pressure on the top surface than on the bottom. That is where lift comes from.

It is astonishing how quickly aviation technology developed during the 20th century. The first heavier than air machines were nothing more than powered kites. In the background on the left is a mound crowned with a Monument to the Wright Brothers. It was there that the two brothers learned to glide. The white marble tower on the mound is barely visible against the bright sky. Then with the powered Wright Flyer (seen here), they flew over the flat plain on the right, where successive flights are identified with marble markers #1, #2, #3, also barely visible.

By 1969, our species had made it to the Moon, where astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buz Aldrin actually walked on the moon, 386,000 km (240,000 miles) from the earth.

We have become so accustomed to air travel that we take flying for granted. Again, it all started here when two bicycle repairmen, Wilbur and Orville Wright, took to the air. A very good book about the two brothers and the birth of aviation was written recently by the American author David McCullough.

Finally, although I used my iPhone 6 Plus, I shot a panoramic image. The original photo is over 8 MB.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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