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Museum intrigue nearly sent original Wright brothers plane to Michigan

Jan 31, 2018

 

If you've ever visited Greenfield Village in Dearborn, you have walked right past the home and bicycle shop of Orville and Wilbur Wright.  

Of course, the Wright brothers are universally recognized as the inventors of the airplane, but did you know it took decades for that fact to be recognized by our own government?

Rachel Clark from the Michigan History Center joined Stateside to share the story. 

 

Listen above for the full conversation, or catch highlights below. 

 

On the power of the Wright brothers' competitor  

 

"In 1903, a man named Samuel Langley attempted to fly a plane called the Langley Aerodrome," Clark said. "He tried it twice, once in October of 1903 and again in December, and both times he crashed on takeoff. He was trying to get those flights in before the Wright brothers, and their flight was on December 17 of that year. So, he was not successful on either time, but he was also the secretary of the Smithsonian, so he took the remains of the Aerodrome and donated it to the Smithsonian. 

 

"So, fast forward to 1914, and an aviator named Glenn Curtiss, who eventually becomes well-known as a developer and builder of airplanes, he took the remains of the Langley Aerodrome and he rebuilt it with a bunch of modifications so it would fly. So, in the Smithsonian, when they put it on display, the declared it the first manned airplane capable of sustained free flight." 

 

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