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Hardcover Kill Devil Hill Book

ISBN: 0395282160

ISBN13: 9780395282168

Kill Devil Hill

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

The history of the Wright Brothers and flight. A great reading book by Harry Combs, also a pilot, covers the dream and discovery of how the brothers went from just being bicycle mechanics to being... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Exposing the true genius of the Wright brothers

Everyone knows OF Wilbur and Orville Wright, but few know much ABOUT them and the true genius of their accomplishments. In the late 1970s, accomplished pilot Harry Combs realized that the general view of the Wright brothers was that they were "tinkerers" who ran a bicycle shop and barely stumbled into the air ahead of their competitors. Unfortunately, 30 years later, that view probably hasn't changed much. In this book he set out to set the record straight and explain why theirs was a rare genius equalled by very few others in history. The Wrights, who came from a close-knit and supportive family, were intrigued by stories from Europe of Lillenthal and others who were attempting "heavier than air" flight (and often dying in the attempts). Wilbur began contemplating the possibilities and together the brothers commenced experimenting and testing the various conclusions and principles others had "discovered." Unfortunately, and here is one example of their incredible intelligence, the Wrights learned that the generally accepted ideas of flight were usually wrong and they had to discover the true scientific principles of aerodynamics for themselves. Possessed of an amazing talent for mechanics and inventing they built from scratch their entire machine, including an engine to run it after their glider tests had proven successful. And in December 1903 on the sand dunes near Kitty Hawk, NC, after three years of experimenting, they were the first in history to achieve true flight (sustained, powered, and controlled), and later improved upon their designs to usher in the modern age of flying. Mr. Combs does a wonderful job telling the story of the Wright brothers with detail. But most of all he points out the many traits and talents they possessed that made them uniquely suited to achieve such a lofty goal. They came from a humble and hard-working background and had an amazing sense of determination. Despite their limited education, they instinctively understood many complex scientific and engineering concepts, and when something wasn't available they were able to invent it themselves. But they didn't simply learn by trial and error, as many others tried to do. They would reason the challenges out between them, and their arguments with each other often ended with each arguing the other's initial point of view. But overall, they were men of the highest character. My only criticism is that the book is often heavy on technical details that won't mean much to those who don't pilot airplanes. But the history of their struggles and disappointments and triumphs is truly inspiring. In addition there are a good number of historical photos included.

Good technical detail

Most accounts of the Wrights skip over the good parts. This book gives you the nitty gritty details of the technical problems that cropped up along the way and how the boys solved those problems. I've never read a better account for people who are interested in aviation as well as the "human interest" part of the story.

A fascinating story - not just for flying enthusiasts

Centennial plans: (...)For several years after their first successful flights in North Carolina, the Wright Brothers developed their planes and flew them outside of Dayton, Ohio. People would tell the folks at the newspaper about all this- "You really ought to do a story"- but evidently the newspaper people never even investigated this preposterous rumor... It wasn't until 6 years later, when the Wright Brothers made headlines all over Europe- for flying circles around everyone else in a flying competition- that they became famous in the United States.Take that as a parable, if you think that you can learn from the news media everything / anything that's worth knowing.

A must-read as we near the centennial of flight

This book is the best telling of the Wright Story there is. It motivated me to read McFarland's collection of their writings, and put them in context. It also left me wanting to read the sequel to their efforts made by Curtiss.

Kill Devil Hill - a great book about the Wright brothers

If you have any interest in flying, or about the process of innovation, then this book is for you. Very readable and hard to put down. The popular myth about the Wright brothers seems to be that they tinkered around and sort of stumbled into discovering how to fly. Harry Combs clearly shows how this is not the case. It's not only amazing how the Wright brothers dedicated themselves to this task, it is inspiring. A fascinating book, and a must read for anybody interested in the subject of the discovery of human flight.
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