Air travel has come a long way since Orville and Wilbur Wright (the Wright Brothers) made that first historic flight back in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Before then, no one could fly anywhere. Nowadays, anyone can fly practically everywhere.
In that light, we thought it might be fun to gather up some flying facts old and new to help sharpen your aviation knowledge.
First Flight Facts
The Wright brothers first began working on the idea of flight in their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, in 1896. Seven years later they achieved what no human being ever had before, man-made flight.
Earlier on that December 17th day before brother Orville made aviation history; Wilbur Wright became the first person to ever pilot a powered airplane. A nice little trivia nugget to know.
The brothers often went to that beach in North Carolina because the strong steady winds gave lift to their aircraft and for the record, that initial flight covered a distance of 852 feet and lasted a mere 59 seconds.
Here is an aviation question that would even stump most pilots.
Who was the first person on the continent of Australia to ever take off and fly his plane? Some might guess Charles Lindbergh or Amelia Earhart perhaps…but both would be incorrect. It was none other than one of the greatest magicians of his day or any day, Harry Houdini, on March 18th, 1910! Moreover, he even filmed the event for posterity.
Amelia Earhart was affectionately known as “Lady Lindy” in reverence to America’s favorite fly boy, Charles ”Lucky” Lindbergh. Amelia was the 16th woman to earn her pilot’s license. In 1928 she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. She was also the first person to fly over both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Amelia disappeared mysteriously in 1937 while attempting to circumvent the globe from the equator.
Flying, by the Numbers
In just over 100 years flying has become as routine as driving an automobile. In 2013, an astounding 8 million passengers per day were boarding planes and taking to the skies in flight. That translates to over 3 billion people a year who flew on an airplane and 2013 represents the first time those numbers had been reached. That is the equivalent of 44% of the entire world’s population and those figures are growing yearly.
Even with their remarkable vision, it is doubtful the Wright brothers ever conceived that first flight in the world’s first airplane would become the cornerstone of an industry that moves the people of the world.