Sunday, June 04, 2006

Wright Brothers Monument silhouette

I've been driving by the Wright Brothers monument for decades (literally) and this year was the first time I bothered to visit up close and personal (in all honesty, it was more for Hannah than for me). Although my parents have pictures of me at the Monument from when I was 18 months old, I can't recall teh visit myself, so it doesn't count.

I'm so glad we went this trip... there was much more to the monument than I expected.

Instead of there simply being a replica of the 1903 craft and some markers in the field, the exhibit showed how the Wright brothers' scientific approach made it all possible. Granted, much of the "sprucing up" may have been done in time for the Centennial Celebration a few years back, but the residual upgard is very impressive to walk through.

Instead of being the tinkerers I thought the bicycle-building brothers were, they instead were very methodical scientists who broke out the process of flying into three problems to be solved: 1) lift, 2) control and 3) power.
In the exhibit hall, there were installations that showed how the brothers created a kite version of the aircraft to refine the "lift" technology, then created a glider version of the craft to further refine lift and work on in-flight control and finally made the engine to provide the power via push propellers. And all the notes they took along the way were shown, as well. Very methodical and ultimately led to the solution.

Walking through the monument grounds, I found myself thinking about all the big hairy "unsolvable" problems out there and how they might break down into components to crack one at a time along the way. An inspirational day, to be sure.

Makes me think I should spend more time walking around historically significant sites to change my frame of reference.

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1 comment:

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