Wright wannabes struggling to fly

Dec. 12, 2003 at 12:57 PM
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KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The Wright brothers made it look easy when they made their flights 100 years ago in North Carolina, but doing it now with the same equipment just won't fly.

Some of today's most experienced pilots and craftsmen are struggling to replicate that feat, the Kansas City Star says.

They've taken decades to build a plane that the brothers assembled in a year, spent more than $1 million compared with the Wrights' equivalent of $20,000 and either failed to get off the ground or quickly crashed, netting broken bones and bruised egos.

At least six modern-day teams have taken up the Wright brothers replica challenge. What they've shown, largely through their crashes, is how remarkable it was that Orville and Wilbur Wright were able to coax that first 605-pound spruce Wright Flyer into the air four straight times on Dec. 17, 1903.

"How the Wright brothers flew it without breaking their necks is a miracle," said John Haire, a retired military pilot.

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