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eBook Conquering the Sky: The Secret Flights of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk epub

by Larry E. Tise

eBook Conquering the Sky: The Secret Flights of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk epub
  • ISBN: 0230614906
  • Author: Larry E. Tise
  • Genre: History
  • Subcategory: Americas
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st Edition edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Pages: 256 pages
  • ePUB size: 1775 kb
  • FB2 size 1902 kb
  • Formats azw doc txt docx

Conquering the sky. The Secret Flights of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.

Conquering the sky. The author and publisher have provided this e-book to you for your personal use only. When the Wright brothers returned to Kitty Hawk in May 1908 and there unintentionally began to show the world how to fly, they inspired headlines that blazed across hundreds of newspapers around the world and provided grist for almost daily stories of heroic exploits and American grit. They were among the first Americans of the twentieth century-other than rich tycoons and political heads of state-to attract an international press following.

Conquering the Sky book. In seven crucial days of spring 1908, the Wright brothers prepared for what they thought would be a season of secret flights at Kitty Hawk, the culmination of five years spent perfecting their planes. In seven crucial days of spring 1908, the Wright brothers prepared for.

When the Wright Brothers returned to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, almost four and a half years after their first .

When the Wright Brothers returned to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, almost four and a half years after their first flight, to test their patented and improved aircraft for public demonstration, a dozen or so correspondents dogged them, hoping for a scoop or a photograph. With unique insight, Larry Tise shows how those seeking news of the Wright brothers were misled with fanciful tales and fishermen's yarns, and how easily the truth was distorted and presented as published fact. Philip Jarrett, specialist historian and author on pioneer aviation.

The Secret Flights of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk. Anyone who loves airplanes will love vicariously experiencing the very beginnings of powered controlled flight.

In seven crucial days of spring 1908, the Wright brothers prepared for what they thought would be a season of secret flights at Kitty Hawk, the culmination of five.

Read "Conquering the Sky The Secret Flights of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk" by Larry E. Tise .

Tise, Larry E. Conquering the Sky: The Secret Flights of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk. To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight. New York: Free Press, 2003. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. --. Hidden Images: Discovering Details in the Wright Brothers Kitty Hawk Photographs. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2005. Walsh, John Evangelist. One Day at Kitty Hawk: The Untold Story of the Wright Brothers and the Airplane. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1975. Wells, H. G. The War in the Air. by. Larry E.

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In seven crucial days of spring 1908, the Wright brothers prepared for what they thought would be a season of secret flights at Kitty Hawk, the culmination of five years spent perfecting their planes. However, they were soon discovered by a host of fast-paced reporters and photographers, forcing the brothers to try to outsmart the world press and avoid close scrutiny of their flying machine and its prowess. Within a few pivotal days, the brothers were catapulted into unwanted worldwide fame as the international press reported their every move using rudimentary telegraphs and early forms of photography. This comedy-of-errors pursuit of pilots and press resulted in a series of bizarre and far-fetched news stories splashed across front pages around the world, by journalists who knew they had just witnessed a milestone in history and were desperate to get to the story first.

In Conquering the Sky, Larry E. Tise tells the fascinating untold story of how the Wrights finally introduced the world to the power of flight, taught a legion of gaping aeronauts how to put a plane in the air and keep it there, and astonished thousands of eye-witnesses both in America and in Europe with their amazing feats.

Comments: (4)
Anyone familiar with the Wright Brothers will appreciate this new book concerning their flight trials in 1908, at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Although the author does a good job relating the story of the newspapermen who tried to get a credible story about the Brothers' 1908 adventures in North Carolina, the "Appendix" section containing the "Eyewitness Testimonials" can be found in their entirety on the "Wright Brothers Digital Exhibit," Joyner Library of East Carolina University. That being said, I do have some minor criticisms to make.

First, the idea behind leaving their flyer trials at Huffman Prairie, and returning to Kitty Hawk, needs more clarification. Also, there were more than "a handful of local witnesses...Dayton neighbors and friends" who knew about the Huffman Prairie flights. What about Amos Ives Root (1839 - 1923) who developed innovative beekeeping techniques, and founded his own company in Medina, Ohio? His wide-ranging interests and curiosity led him to become the only eyewitness to publish articles about successful airplane flights made by the Wright brothers in Ohio in 1904-1905.

Second, I find his remarks that characterize the men of the Life Saving Service, who assisted the Wright Brothers, to be undeserved. He seems to make them out to be more on the shiftless and lazy side; given more to telling gossip, than doing their jobs. These Surfmen were indispensible to the Wrights. In addition to helping build their camp buildings, they went to market for them, brought them mail, helped them assemble the Flyer(s), and lugged them up the Big Kill Devil Hill to be launched. In the author's examination of one page of the Life Saving Service Log, too much is made about the whereabouts of Captain Ward. His conclusion that Captain Ward was in collusion with Mr. Drinkwater in spreading misinformation about the Wright's experiments, is a stretch. Absolutely no hard facts are presented. By page 124, the author is presenting the Life Savers as time-killing, lazy, gossip mongers. "As a result of the stories of the lifesavers...virtually everything about the Wright brothers that came from the Outer Banks was a jumble of fact, fiction, and fantasy." I reject this out-of-hand.

Third, as I was personally acquainted with Alpheus W. Drinkwater, I find the author's caricature of him, bordering on the slanderous. His constant reference to Mr. Drinkwater's "perpetually active and fertile mind;" as having made up much of what was reported through him, at the Manteo Weather Station telegraph, is historically unfounded. Nowhere in the book, does the author back up his assertions with factual reference. To constantly refer to Mr. Drinkwater and the Life Savers as embellishing the bits and pieces of the Wright's story "to bolster their self-importance," is beyond the pale of good historiography.

The author makes no mention of Mr. Drinkwater's 1903 involvement with the Wrights. I quote from the official U.S. Coast Guard Deputy Historian, Scott Price, concerning his historic involvement, which I know, from other sources, to be fact, not fantasy: "A future Coast Guardsman, A. W. Drinkwater, was working as a repairman for the U.S. Weather Bureau in 1900 out of Currituck Inlet when he first heard about the Wright Brothers. He colorfully recounted that: "while making repair trips down the coast I heard of those two crazy islanders who were at Kill Devil Hills making attempts to fly. I didn't pay much attention to them, everyone considered them nutty."

"Three years later, on 17 December 1903, Drinkwater was working at a wreck station set up to monitor the stranded U.S. Navy submarine USS Moccasin which had run aground near the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. He had a telegraph line set up that was linked to Norfolk, Virginia. The local commercial telegraph operator apparently could not get through to the mainland "on account of the wire being heavy" so he asked Drinkwater to send a message for the Wrights. Drinkwater agreed, noting "The message was to Miss Katherine Wright, Dayton Ohio, and read as follows, as best as I recollect: 'FLIGHT SUCCESSFUL. DON'T TELL ANYBODY ANYTHING. HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. SIGNED ORVILLE.' This message was given to the Weather Bureau office at Norfolk which handled all commercial messages along the coast from Cape Henry to Hatteras." He also helped the brothers communicate with the outside world when they returned to Kitty Hawk in 1908 to test a newer powered aircraft that unfortunately was wrecked in an accident. Drinkwater later transferred to the Coast Guard when it took over coastal communications from the Weather Bureau in 1929 and recounted this story in 1935."

Thus, the story of Joe Dosher, the Kitty Hawk Weather Station man who had to get Mr. Drinkwater to send the first flight message in 1903, is ignored in the one paragraph about Dosher, giving more space to Mr. Drinkwater, of whom he calls, "becoming a colorful and legendary local figure." He attempts to leave the reader with the impression that Mr. Drinkwater was not involved in any substantial way with the Wright story. This is incorrect. It is also wrong to saddle Mr. Drinkwater with what the newspapermen wrote. He only transmitted their stories over the telegraph, as they wrote them. The author's repeated use of "must have been," "shoveling out one sensational story after another," "Drinkwater's tell-tale voice could be detected in many further efforts to further escalate..." One must ask, what are the author's facts? Where are his sources to these allegations? I'm not impressed.

Fourth, knowing that the author graduated with a ministry/religious (Master of Divinity) degree from Duke Divinity School, I am surprised at his interpretation of the Wright Brothers religious beliefs. To state, without documented proof, that "the words love, evil, salvation, worship, God, Jesus, and Satan almost never appear in any of their letters or diaries...except in humorous connotations," ignores Wilbur Wright's influence and hands-on involvement with his father's religious denomination. To further imply that the Kitty Hawk area provided a "locale for contemplation with their inner beings, and as a haunt where they could commune with nature," (leaving the impression that this was the sum of [their type of] religious experience; except to continually point out that they kept the Sabbath), is to miss much about the religious life of these men. There are many sources overlooked, which would contradict this blanket statement about their religious beliefs. The author also implied that the Wright Brothers had, what, in ministerial language, is called "the money heart," by stating, "...from the moment of their first successes with that glider, they began envisioning the piles of money they could derive from selling exclusively protected flying machines to eager investors..." My own through research into the Wright family reveals otherwise. In fact, the Wright family did not put a high premium on the making of money, and the examples to illustrate this fact are too numerous to mention in this review.

Consider this interview between Fred C. Kelly, the Wright brothers' first biographer asking Orville in 1939, if it was the profit motive that motivated he and his brother to invent the airplane. "I hardly think so. I doubt if Alexander Graham Bell expected to make much out of the telephone. It seems unlikely that Edison started out with the idea of making money. Certainly Steinmetz had little interest in financial reward. All he asked of life was the opportunity to spend as much time as possible in the laboratory working at problems that interested him." Kelly asked, "And the Wright brothers?" Orville chuckled. "If we had been interested in invention with the idea of profit, we most assuredly would have tried something in which the chances for success were brighter. You see, we did not expect in the beginning to go beyond gliding. The question was not of money from flying but how we could get money enough to keep on entertaining ourselves with it. It was something to spend money on, just as a man spends on golf, if that interests them, with no idea of making it pay." Their father, Bishop Milton Wright used to say, "All the money anyone needs is just enough to prevent one from being a burden on others." Following their father's advice, the brothers tried to earn their own spending money and never became interested in a hobby because it might be profitable. Kelly claims that up to the day when they actually flew, the Wrights' total outlay of money was a trifle less than $2,000. Some more recent estimates are that they spent event less, closer to $1,200.(Source:Harpers Magazine,"How the Wright Brothers Began," Fred C. Kelly,October 1939.)

Fifth, there are few pictures. Use of one of James Hare's photos was good, but more photographs of the Kitty Hawk, Manteo, Life Saving Station, principals involved in the story, etc., of the 1908 era, would have added much to the story. Since the author admittedly pried his way into the Hare collection stored in Austin, Texas, he should have had more of those photos included. I get the impression that he is saving this material for another book.

Although I thought the book's title was a little too mundane and ordinary, and lacked a bibliography, over all, it is a good read. I gave it a high rating due to the detail about the cloak of secrecy, thrown over these 1908 events, by the Wright Brothers.
When I saw Conquering The Sky in the local public library I checked it out and eagerly looked forward to reading it and learning more about the Wright brothers aircraft and their early flights. Unfortunately a large part of the book was devoted to a different topic. I refer to all the coverage of unprofessional and misleading newspaper reporting of the Wright's activities and flights. It ties in with the Wright's desire to conduct their work with a degree of seclusion, but not worth forming a major part of the text.

The book's text contains hardly any description or details of the aircraft and their engines other than one mention of horsepower and a crimped fuel line. Some data is included in several of the eyewitness testimonials in the back of the book. That data, plus other that must have been available to the author in his extensive research, could have been incorporated into a more comprehensive story line to describe the aircraft and show how they were changed or improved as flights and experiments progressed.

I'm not suggesting that complex aeronautical engineering data be included. Only that, after reading the text, a reader shouldn't have to learn from eyewitness testimonials in the back of the book that the aircraft (at least one of them) had a forty foot wingspan, or that the first engine developed 12 or 15 horsepower, and later engines developed up to 40 horsepower. The reader is left to wonder what changes were made to the airframes, control systems, and engines - and when, and why.

Another disappointment was the treatment of rare photographs of the Wright aircraft. They were printed on regular paper and only about one third of a page in size. One was only about two inches square. If the pictures had been printed on glossy paper and enlarged to full page size so that more detail could be seen, and if more descriptive information been included in the text, this book would be a treasured possession for those interested in aviation history.
Great product and service. I was very pleased.
A quite detailed read on the Wrights. You'll learn things you were never taught before. It's detailed but not so much that you can't keep reading on.
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