ONE DAY AT KITTY HAWK by John Evangelist Walsh


Email this review


A surprisingly absorbing step-by-step account of the technical development of the Wright Brothers' first power-driven flying machine. It seems that Wilbur Wright was the inventive genius behind the flying machine, while his brother Orville was more of an assistant and sometime test pilot. But Wilbur died about four years after their first flight and as time passed Walsh charges that Orville deliberately obscured Wilbur's achievement, allowing none of their technical papers to be examined nor any book to be written about them. Only his death in 1948 finally gave the public access to the true story. Wilbur was incapacitated by a sporting accident which made him a semi-invalid. This gave him time to study birds and review the published materials on flying machines. Finally, he began building a glider in secret, knowing that the main problem was not in source of power, or the engine, but in stabilization of the craft so that it could bank and land safely. Technically it was Orville who made the first flight of some 120 feet at Kitty Hawk but neither brother regarded this as definitive. Meanwhile, the world press was kept at bay and no one was allowed to see the plane until a contract could be signed with a firm interested in producing flying machines. It was Wilbur who first described the miracle of powered flight: "". . . the sensation is so keenly delightful as to be almost beyond description. . . . More than anything else the sensation is one of perfect peace, mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost."" It is recaptured here.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1975
Publisher: T.Y. Crowell