A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Wright Flyer Replica

By now I was cold, damp, miserable and sniveling.  I retreated into the museum where it was warm and cozy and full of a lot of people.  But I had timed it just right.  One of the park rangers was giving a 30 minute talk to the crowd gathered around the reproduction of the Wright brother's Flyer.  Now is a good time to view the rest of the exhibits without people around talking and being a general nuisance.  I have a problem trying to read displays with someone standing next to me reading it out loud.  Some people never learned to read in their "quiet voice".  When the talk concluded the hoard invaded the museum and I had the exhibit room with Flyer all to myself.

This is just amazing that the reproduction was made with such detail to accuracy.  Like the bronze sculpture outside, I wondered what this cost to make and how long it took to do so.

Here you can see the little dolly on the monorail for the Flyer to take off from.  It had no wheels plus the soft sand ground would have made it impossible to get up to speed for take-off.

As the sign read, this is a working engine reproduced down to every last detail.  There was no engine available for the brothers that produced the horsepower needed so they designed and made their own.  In the end the horsepower it produced exceeded their needs.  
Pretty cool for a couple of bicycle makers.
Also note the padded U-shaped portion.  The pilot's hips rested there and he'd shift left or right which flexed or warped the wing thus controlling side to side roll.

The two propellers, like the engine, they had to design and build for themselves.

Can you imagine all the tacking needed for the cloth?  
My first thought was how many times I'd smack my fingers with the hammer.

Every one of these specifications was not just a random choice.  Every factor affected each other factor and these results were determined from over a thousand test flights with gliders like the one above.  They also used scaled models in a wind tunnel they created themselves.  

In the gift shop I so wanted to buy a model of the Flyer to put together myself.  Not a plastic Chinese made thing but one with wood, string and cloth.  Nothing of the sort was for sale.  Someone had made one and it hung above the register with a little sign dangling beneath that read: "Display only, made by so and so.  No, we do not have these for sale."  Why have that there teasing the customer?  Obviously they had been asked about it so many times hence the sign. Take a hint and have some model maker create kits and sell them at exorbitant prices to fools like me who in the moment have got all caught up in the Wright Brothers Experience.  I wound up buying a book.


  1. This is a museum that I would love to visit. Thanks already for your great covering here.

  2. It is so amazing that people can invent something so big and so well thought every detail. Youn get great respect for those guys.

  3. My husband and I toured that museum when we were traveling about in our fifthwheel. We lived in it for about 10 years.

    Thanks for visiting Sherpa today.

  4. Wow is all I can manage to say!
    Peace :)

  5. Very cool. I hope to make it there one day.

  6. That plane always reminds me of a rather over ambitious school sceince project!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  7. the replica is really neat. amazing how they engineered all this - and it worked!

  8. How cool to see the replica! Too bad you weren't able to purchase a model kit. But for me, a book would have been great alternative.


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