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May 26, 1999
QuestChat with Orville & Wilbur Wright

Inventors of the first powered airplane
Kitty Hawk, North Carolina



Sandy/NASAChatHost - 1 - 09:44:11 ]
Fun facts about the Wright Brothers-- In 1901 at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, the brothers flew the largest glider ever flown! It weighed nearly 100 pounds, had a wingspan of 22 feet and skids for smoother landings.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 2 - 09:45:27 ]
Did you know... the Wrights Brothers actually predicted that man would not fly in their lifetime!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 4 - 09:48:08 ]
Remember this... In December 1903, the brothers built a movable track to launch the Flyer. The downhill track helped the aircraft gain enough airspeed to fly! On December 17, on the third attempt to fly this machine, Orville took it for a 12-second, sustained flight. This became the first successful, powered, piloted flight in history!!!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 6 - 09:56:49 ]
RE: [Ariel/WYSERPanama-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama] Hi! Greetings from Worldwide Youth Encounter for Study and Research PANAMA. I'm the Program Coorddinator and I'm trying to learn as much as I can, to share my new knowledge with high school kids.
Welcome Ariel! We've never had someone from Panama attend our chats before! We're very happy you are here to chat with us today :-) Orville & Wilbur will be arriving in the chat room in the next five minutes. Have your questions ready!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 8 - 10:00:10 ]
RE: [ARIEL-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama] Yes, thanks to Captain Luis Rodriguez from JSC, we have been learning about NASA and the space science.
How have you been involved with Captain Rodriguez at JSC?

[ Orville - 10 - 10:02:20 ]
Orville Wright is here. Hello everyone.

[ ARIEL-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama - 11 - 10:02:53 ]
Captain Rodriguez is the founder and director or WYESR. He gave us the web sites, and we begun to visit and learn about the space, NASA, space flights, everything! I am very happy for the oportunity he's giving to us!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 12 - 10:03:01 ]
It looks like the Wright Bros. plane (the NASA time machine!) has landed and they are ready to take your questions! Fire away!

[ WilburWright - 13 - 10:04:04 ]
Good morning everyone. Wilbur Wright is here.

[ Orville - 16 - 10:04:41 ]
RE: [Sandy/NASAChatHost] Did you know... the Wrights Brothers actually predicted that man would not fly in their lifetime!
Actually, Wilbur said that. I was much more optimistic.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 18 - 10:05:49 ]
RE: [Orville] Actually, Wilbur said that. I was much more optimistic.
Way to go Orville! Your optimism paid off :-)

[ Orville - 20 - 10:06:57 ]
RE: [ARIEL-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama] my first questions is: Do you need to modify the wind tunnel in order to fit the replica?
We didn't need to modify the 40 X 80 Foot tunnel to fit the replica . The wingspan is about 40 ft, and the tunnel is 80 foot wide. And, if it wouldn't have fit in the 40X80, then it would hav been put in the 80x120.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 21 - 10:06:58 ]
RE: [Shuttleboys/JJFrayElem-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem.] Hello, We are joining the chat from Rustburg, Va. We are a group of third graders. We are doing a online project and this is our first live chat. We had problems reg. so we had to use another groups name. Our name for now on is going to be NASA Boys.
Welcome NASA Boys! We are very glad to see that you've made it. Sorry to hear about your registration problems. I'd like to find out what your problems were later. For now, send Orville & Wilbur your hardest questions!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 23 - 10:09:46 ]
RE: [Sandy/NASAChatHost] Welcome NASA Boys! We are very glad to see that you've made it. Sorry to hear about your registration problems. I'd like to find out what your problems were later. For now, send Orville & Wilbur your hardest questions!
Can you tell us what your online project is? Don't worry about this being your first web chat! It's really easy and a lot of fun! Where else could you step back in time and chat with the Wright Brothers??? :-)

[ Orville - 24 - 10:09:53 ]
RE: [ARIEL-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama] Why Willbur think mankind will not fix his model and finally realize the dream of flying?
When Wilbur said that, we had a particularly bad day. Nothing seemed to go right.

[ Orville - 26 - 10:11:59 ]
RE: [NASABoys/JJFrayElem-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem.] Wright Bros. When did you start acting like the Wright Bros.? What else do you do other than chats?
We've done 4 chats since January. We're actually 500 miles apart.

[ WilburWright - 29 - 10:14:33 ]
RE: [Orville] When Wilbur said that, we had a particularly bad day. Nothing seemed to go right.
I believe I (Wilbur) made the remark "Man will not fly in a thousand years" in 1901 when out glider was performing very poorly. The design of that gloder was based on Otto Lillienthal (a German pioneer glider) design numbers about how a wing should be shaped. Those numbers turned out to be wrong and we had to go back and build our own little wind tunnel and get all new design numbers.

[ Orville - 31 - 10:15:50 ]
RE: [ARIEL-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama] How many models did you try to fly before your first succesful flight?
We built gliders in 1900, 1901, and 1902. The 1900 glider was basically a large kite, while the 1902 glider was a small version of the 1903 Flyer without the engine. We also experimented with wing shapes in our small wind tunnel. We went through a lot of experiments before we got the correct answer.

[ WilburWright - 33 - 10:17:17 ]
RE: [Orville] We've done 4 chats since January. We're actually 500 miles apart.
Yes, that's true Orville, We've done four chats up until now. Wilbur is an air traffic control supervisor for the FAA and Orville is an engineer for NASA. We are both experts about the Wright Brothers and their history.

[ Orville - 34 - 10:18:03 ]
RE: [NASABoys/JJFrayElem-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem.] Did you come up with your design of your airplane by yourself or did you see someone elses design and change it?
All of our gliders and airplanes were of our own design. Samuel Langlely was also trying to make the first flight in 1903, and his designs looked nothing like our designs. Those designs also didn't fly either.

[ NASABoys/JJFrayElem-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem. - 35 - 10:18:32 ]
Our project: We are learning more about space. We have to visit web sites and learn how to download and print on the computer. We are using the Internet for the first time. Our teacher was lucky to receive money from a grant to do this. We only have one computer for the entire class.

[ WilburWright - 37 - 10:21:10 ]
RE: [NASABoys/JJFrayElem-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem.] Our project: We are learning more about space. We have to visit web sites and learn how to download and print on the computer. We are using the Internet for the first time. Our teacher was lucky to receive money from a grant to do this. We only have one computer for the entire class.
Well, welcome NASA Boys a the J. J. Fray Elementary School. Do you have any questions for Wilbur?

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 39 - 10:21:38 ]
RE: [NASABoys/JJFrayElem-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem.] Our project: We are learning more about space. We have to visit web sites and learn how to download and print on the computer. We are using the Internet for the first time. Our teacher was lucky to receive money from a grant to do this. We only have one computer for the entire class.
Well, you and your teacher are certainly off to a GREAT start :-) And we're certainly glad you picked a NASA Quest Web chat as your first Internet experience :-) We have a lot of really cool activities going on. Be sure to spend some time on our site after today's chat.

[ Orville - 40 - 10:22:44 ]
RE: [ARIEL-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama] What was basically the principal problem in the design of the first flying machine? propulsion? weight?
Yes, all of those. There is also the issue of control. We feel it is very important to be able to control the airplane, and compensate for disturbances such as wind or gusts. Lilienthal was not able to recover his glider from a stall, and that's why he crashed.

[ ARIEL-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama - 41 - 10:22:47 ]
NASA boys I welcome you to the Cyberspace.!!

[ WilburWright - 43 - 10:24:16 ]
RE: [ARIEL-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama] What was basically the principal problem in the design of the first flying machine? propulsion? weight?
There were several principle problems. The first problem was what wing shape to use to develop enough left to carry someone into the air. Once that was pretty much solved, the problem became one of how to control the sircarft. We had to design the aircraft so that it would control the turning, rolling, climbing and descendig without going out of control, even in the wind.

[ Orville - 44 - 10:25:40 ]
RE: [NASABoys/JJFrayElem-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem.] Which plane did you like the best? How many hours did it take to build the plane?
It's difficult to say which airplane I liked best. Each was an improvement on the last one. The 1905 Flyer was really the first airplane that allowed us to fly high and far like we had envisioned flying to be. That was probably my favorite.

[ WilburWright - 47 - 10:27:24 ]
RE: [NASABoys/JJFrayElem-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem.] Which plane did you like the best? How many hours did it take to build the plane?
I think our favorite plane was our first successful aircraft, commonly called the 1903 "Flyer", because it FLEW. We designed several more aircraft of increasing performance and capability but our favorite was the first "Flyer". I also particularly enjoyed flying the 1909 model at many different places in Europe.

[ Orville - 48 - 10:30:18 ]
RE: [ARIEL-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama] How many horsepower developed your first engine? what kind of engine it was?
Our first engine was built by our mechanic Charlie Taylor in our bicycle shop based on our own design. We had asked various other manufacturers to build us an engine, but none of them could meet the specs or the cost. Our engine generated about 12 to 16 horsepower and ran at about 1000 to 1200 rpm.

[ WilburWright - 50 - 10:30:31 ]
RE: [WilburWright] I think our favorite plane was our first successful aircraft, commonly called the 1903 "Flyer", because it FLEW. We designed several more aircraft of increasing performance and capability but our favorite was the first "Flyer". I also particularly enjoyed flying the 1909 model at many different places in Europe.
The 1903 Wright Flyer took about a month and a half to build. We worked from early morning until late afternoon and then discussed our building and design problems all evening many times. One time we had a problem with what we called "well digging" which today you call a tail spin. Orville had had too much coffee to drink that evening and stayed wide awake all night figuring out the design problem and in the morning had it all figured out in his mind. His design solution worked and we built a new rudder control system.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 53 - 10:32:34 ]
RE: [Princess/CrittendenMiddleSchool-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] Is it fun to fly
Welcome Princess and Crittenden Middle School and Mr. Coletti! We are very glad you could join us today :-)

[ NASABoys/JJFrayElem-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem. - 54 - 10:33:35 ]
Hello Ariel, It is pretty neat to cool to talk to you.

[ Orville - 60 - 10:34:49 ]
RE: [NASABoys/JJFrayElem-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem.] Which plane did you like the best? How many hours did it take to build the plane? How many models did you make before your first flight? How many times did you crash before your first flight? Did either of you get hurt when you were trying to fly?
We took a couple of months to build our airplanes. Each year that we were testing we had to take care of the bicycle season first, so that we could make money, then we would work over the summer to build the next airplane. By Fall, we could then head down to Kittyhawk North Carolina and start testing. We had lots of little crashes. The worst crash was in 1908 when I (Orville) was demonstrating our airplane to the Army Signal Corp. With deep regret, Lt. Selfridge was killed and I was hurt pretty bad.

[ WilburWright - 65 - 10:35:59 ]
RE: [ARIEL-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama] What was your background at the moment you decide to built a plane? sorry not much U.S. history! :-)
Orville and I were raised in a conservative home with parents who valued hard work and also intellectual achievement. As boys, Orville and I invented our own little printing press and then went on to start our own newspaper. That grew and grew until we branched out into the bicycle business. The "safety" bicycle had just been invented. We started out selling them and then built and sold 3 versions of our own. We were also fascinated by gliding experiments that were going on around the world. In particular we were very aware of Otto Lillienthal's experiments in Germany and some of the French experiments. We wrote to the the Smithsonian Museum for more information and in a few weeks received a response. We decided to build our first glider and the rest is history.

[ Orville - 66 - 10:36:13 ]
RE: [Princess/CrittendenMiddleSchool-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] Is it fun to fly
We thought flying would be so fun, we went out and invented a machine to do it in. We were right!

[ Orville - 74 - 10:38:51 ]
RE: [ARIEL-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama] How many millions have generated you wonderful idea? did you patented it?
We patented our wing warp idea in 1908 to control the airplane. We formed the Wright Airplane Company and made lots of money.

[ WilburWright - 75 - 10:39:26 ]
RE: [Dennis/CrittendenMiddleSchool-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] How many changes did you make onthe boat prapeller to make it an airplane prapeller.
Dennis, a boat propeller and an airplane propeller are very much different. We first thought that designing a propeller would be pretty easy and put it off until the last. Then we found out how difficult it was and how different it was from any propeller ever built. We worked intensively for 6 to 7 weeks in designing and redesigning the propeller. We even wind tunnel tested our designs several times to try to find the best design. It was a lot tougher than we originally thought.

[ Orville - 78 - 10:40:13 ]
RE: [Dennis/CrittendenMiddleSchool-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] How many changes did you make onthe boat prapeller to make it an airplane prapeller.
We found that boat propellers were not the right way to approach the problem. We decided to treat the prop as a rotating wing, and developed our theory from there.

[ Orville - 84 - 10:41:29 ]
RE: [Brian/CrittendenS-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] Hi Wrights! How much money did you make????????
I retired as a millionare

[ Orville - 90 - 10:43:24 ]
RE: [Brian/CrittendenS-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] The Wing Worping is COOL!
Thank you, we liked it too. However, in order to circumvent our patent, someone else invented the aileron, which works better than wing warping. It goes to show you, you have to keep researching and learning to stay ahead.

[ WilburWright - 91 - 10:43:54 ]
RE: [Princess/CrittendenMiddleSchool-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] What inspired you and gave the idea of building a plane?
Princess, it is hard to say just what was the original inspiration to build a plane to fly. We were given a rubber-band powered toy when we were boys and we tried to duplicate it and enlarge on it but with no success. We never forgot about that little device though. Then, years later a German named Otto Lillienthal started doing gliding experiments by jumping from a huge man=made hill on his estate just outside of Berlin, Germany. He made many, many pioneering glider flights and we were very interested in what he was doing. Also, two Englishmen, Penaud, a marine engineer and Maxim, the inventor of the machine gun, by the way, did a number of experiments that really interestd us.

[ Orville - 96 - 10:44:43 ]
RE: [Dennis/CrittendenMiddleSchool-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] Were you dissapoited when you found out the book on wings was wrong.
It was a set back, but it also gave us the opportunity to confirm for ourselves what the correct answer would be.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 101 - 10:46:01 ]
EVERYONE; THERE ARE ONLY 10 MINUTES LEFT IN TODAY'S CHAT! PLEASE HOLD OFF SENDING IN ANYMORE QUESTIONS-- IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE QUESTIONS YOU'VE ALREADY SENT IN, ANSWERED!!! ORVILLE 7 WILBUR ARE TYPING AS FAST AS THEY CAN. thanks :-)

[ WilburWright - 106 - 10:46:47 ]
RE: [NASABoys/JJFrayElem-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem.] Did you always fly in North Carolina or did you test flight in other places?
Nasa Boys, we did not do all of our test flying at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. From 1904 onward nearly all our flying was done in a cow pasture just outside Dayton, Ohio, at a site that is today known as Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Much later Orville did a little more flying at Kitty Hawk but that was several years later.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 109 - 10:47:51 ]
EVERYONE: WHEN TODAY'S CHAT WITH THE WRIGHT BROS. IS OVER, PLEASE LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF IT BY FILLING OUT A SHORT SURVEY AT-- http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys Thank you!!!

[ WilburWright - 115 - 10:49:21 ]
RE: [Dennis/CrittendenMiddleSchool-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] How do kites look back then.
Kites of our time looked very much like they do today. Our 1903 Wright Flyer looked a lot like a great big box kite. If you have a picture of it try turning it up on the side and imagine it as a great big box kite. It looks like a big box kite because that is what we started with as a design idea.

[ Orville - 116 - 10:49:48 ]
RE: [Dennis/CrittendenMiddleSchool-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] How long was your wind tunnel?
Our wind tunnel was made from a couple of crates nailed together. It wasn't more than 12 foot long. Nothing like the big tunnels at NASA.

[ Orville - 120 - 10:52:03 ]
RE: [Heather/CrittendenMiddleSchool-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] How did theWind tunnel work?
Well Heather, the wind tunnel uses a fan to blow air over a model of a wing or airplane. This simulates the airplane flying thru the air. We can then measure the forces created by the wind acting on the airplane and relate that information to a real airplane.

[ WilburWright - 121 - 10:52:05 ]
RE: [Troy/CrittendenMiddleSchool-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] What tools did you use, hand tools or electric tools?
We used all hand tools and some machine tools in the shop, but but we did not have all the handy hand electric tools that we have today. We made absolutely everything, even the engine, by hand tools or by a lathe run by belts and pulleys from a single power source, a little electric motor.

[ WilburWright - 123 - 10:54:03 ]
RE: [ARIEL-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama] What or who was your principal inspiration for trying over and over again?
Our principle inspiration for trying over and over was our family, our natural inventiveness and learned characteristic of stick-to-it no matter what, and a design engineer named Octave Chanute. He kept encouraging us to continue and we did.

[ Orville - 126 - 10:54:29 ]
RE: [Troy/CrittendenMiddleSchool-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] What tools did you use, hand tools or electric tools?
Electricity was not as available back then as it is now. We had a lot of hand tools, although a lot of our machine tools for the shop were from by an engine that supplied power through belts and pulleys to the machine.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 129 - 10:54:55 ]
EVERYONE; TODAY'S CHAT WITH ORVILLE AND WILBUR HAS COME TO AN END... BUT BEFORE WE SIGN OFF, I'D LIKE TO INTRODUCE THE **REAL** ORVILLE & WILBUR... Brothers, please introduce yourselves...

[ Orville - 130 - 10:56:03 ]
RE: [NASABoys/JJFrayElem-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem.] Did you always fly in North Carolina or did you test flight in other places?
We also flew at Huffman Prairie near Dayton Ohio in 1905. Once we felt confident about landing on hard ground we didn't need to go back to the beach.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 132 - 10:56:10 ]
RE: [ARIEL-ArielPerez/WYESRPanama] thanks! i invite you to the international space chat online may 27, 1999.
Goodbye Ariel! Thanks so much for joining us today! You asked some terrific questions!

[ WilburWright - 135 - 10:56:37 ]
RE: [Dennis/CrittendenMiddleSchool-Mr.Coletti/CrittendenMiddleSchool] How young were you when you worked on bikes?
We started working on bicycles just before the turn of the century when the all new "safety" bicycle was invented. I think I (Wilbur) was about 20 and Orville was about 16.

[ Orville - 136 - 10:57:31 ]
Orville was played by Craig Hange at NASA Ames Research Center. It's been a pleasure chatting today.

[ NASABoys/JJFrayElem-ShuttleBoys/J.J.FrayElem. - 137 - 10:58:26 ]
Thanks for the chat. It was really fun talking to you.

[ WilburWright - 138 - 10:58:31 ]
I am Wilbur Wright. My real name is Steve Shackelford. I am an air traffic control supervisor for the FAA in the Los Angeles area. You can write to me at this address if you want: SShackel@aol.com. I have enjoyed talking to you all this morning.

[ Orville - 139 - 10:59:11 ]
Have a good summer kids. Be sure to get out there and invent something. Who knows, we might be talking about you in 100 years.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 140 - 11:00:26 ]
Goodbye everyone! And don't forget to fill out the short chat survey on: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/cqhat-surveys

[ WilburWright - 141 - 11:00:57 ]
Well, Goodbye everyone, I have enjoy chatting with you as Wilbur Wright. Have a great summer and I will see you all next year. Bye for now Wilbur Wright

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 142 - 11:01:04 ]
To find out what's happening at Quest during the summer go to-- http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events

[ WilburWright - 143 - 11:02:54 ]
Thanks for your help Sandy. Once again, it has been a lot of fun. Bye for now Wilbur aka Steve Shackelford

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 146 - 11:04:56 ]
RE: [ARIEL] Bye, Sandy, great chat moderation this time. See you next time!
Thanks Ariel! Please come back again :-)

 
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