KITTY HAWK, N.C., Dec. 17 (UPI) -- A replica of the Wright brothers' aircraft failed to take off in two attempts to recreate the first powered flight, which was made 100 years ago Wednesday.
The canvas, wood and wire contraption, which was designed and built by aviation historian Ken Hyde, of Warrenton, Va., stalled as afternoon winds built but did not approach the 27-mph speed that occurred on Dec. 17, 1903, when Orville Wright lifted off the sand dunes at Kill Devil Hills.
The original flight lasted approximately 12 seconds and covered 188 feet -- lower than the height of a modern Boeing 747 airliner and shorter than its wingspan of nearly 200 feet. Orville and his brother Wilbur alternated piloting the craft three more times that day. The final flight, by Wilbur, lasted 59 seconds and covered 852 feet, although the craft was damaged severely by the wind shortly thereafter and was never flown again.
In the first attempt of the day, about 11:30 a.m., EST, the replica Wright Flyer seemed to falter as it rolled down the rail track, then plopped into a pool of rainwater. The flight team quickly retrieved the aircraft and returned it to a hangar for evaluation.
The second try, at approximately 4:45 p.m., ended when the replica's engine stalled.
The pilot, Kevin Kochersberger, an engineering professor from Rochester, N.Y., had flown the craft successfully three times before.