Byron's Babbles

Leadership To Open The Era Of Aviation

Posted in Leadership, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on April 4, 2013


As I stood at the monument (pictured in this post) marking the fourth fiight on that blustery December 17th day I reflected on the first time I stood beside the Wright Flyer at the Smithsonian Institution. The plaque at the exhibit reads: “THE ORIGINAL WRIGHT BROTHERS AEROPLANE: The world’s first power-driven, heavier-than-air machine in which man made free, controlled and sustained flight, invented and built by Wilbur and Orville Wright flown by them at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina December 17, 1903. By original scientific research the Wright Brothers discovered the principles of human flight as inventors, builders, and flyers they further developed the aeroplane, taught man to fly, and opened the era of aviation.” Think about what this says, they “…opened the era of aviation.” What a leadership legacy!

In 1901 Wilbur and Orville had tested their latest glider design. The performance was improved and the control bugs were worked out, but the Wrights were perplexed about why their calculations were still off. Their response to this was unique and would he reason enough to regard the Wrights as the first to fly. They constructed a wind tunnel in the rear of their bicycle shop and conducted precise tests of different wing sections. The tunnel was only six feet long by sixteen inches square, with a glass window in the top panel to allow observation. A steady fan driven by a small gas engine blew air through the box at a steady twenty-seven miles per hour ), and inside, balance and spring scales measured lift and pressure on a variety of airfoils. In these experiments, the Wrights raised aviation experimentation to the level of serious engineering.

The Wrights discovered that much of the published data on wing design was incorrect or had ignored important elements of flight. After testing two hundred different wing surfaces, the brothers used their newly gained information to design Glider Number 3. As leaders we must do our own research and not take for granted the opinions of others.

The Wright Brothers put the necessary time and research into finding the best design. They did this all in the name of bringing about social change! This is what great leaders do!

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