Airborne at Kitty Hawk
Michael Harrison


e-Book, 84 pp. with Index (Tina Rhea #29)
ISBN 978-1-55497-477-1    $10.00

Just fifty years ago, on December 17, 1903, the first successful power-driven, heavier-than-air flying machine flew 540 feet through the air in the presence of five witnesses at Kitty Hawk on the bleak coast of North Carolina. After centuries of vain striving, man had at last learnt how to fly—the two Wright brothers had achieved the impossible. Much has been written since of that memorable moment to deflect credit from the brothers, and in celebration of the completion of fifty years of flying Michael Harrison has set himself to assess their achievement in the face of rival claims.

In doing so he makes a survey of Man’s attempt to fly—attempts as old as history itself, from Archytas of Tarentum with his flying machine, "balanced by weights and deriving its motion from enclosed air", through the fools, the geniuses, the dreamers, the philosophers, the martyrs, the engineers, with their wings or kites or balloons, their testing, proving and amassing of information until, at the turn of the twentieth century, the two brothers, with painstaking thoroughness, checked, re-checked, tried, adapted, discarded and augmented with their own remarkable research to succeed where all before had failed in getting their impossible flying machine airborne at Kitty Hawk.