17 December 1903, Kill Devil Hills –  First powered flight

The Flyer is flying

First powered flight

It is three days since the Flyer has “crashed” with minor damage. Orville and Wilbur repaired it and prepared everything for the next flight. We put the Flyer into position and Wilbur started the engine while Orville took place on it.

We observed everything from behind. I was standing next to the camera to get the best view. It was 10:35 in the morning when the Flyer started moving. It took off … and it stayed in the air. The photographer was nervous taking the photo. This is a milestone in history. The first powered flight. It took about ten seconds after the Flyer went back to the ground. We measured the distance which was an amazing 120 ft (37 m).

We moved the Flyer back to the starting position and this time Wilbur took place. It flew even further, 175 ft (53 m). I would have loved to fly but I was too young. Orville did another flight for 200 ft (61 m) and then Wilbur took place again. He crashed the Flyer and the front was severely damaged. The body looked fine. Flying was over for today.

So four flights in total. This is not coincidence or luck. This means it works. A dream came true.

Once again we brought the plane back to the top. Suddenly a powerful gust of wind caught the Flyer. We tried to hold it down but without success. It flipped over several times and never flew again.

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