History: 66 years later… From Kitty Hawk to the Sea of Tranquility

In May 1998 I spent a few days in Chicago. Except probably the residential areas close to the lake, the rest of the city didn’t look great, and, in most black neighbourhoods, tourists were recommended to stay inside their cars and avoid walking…

There weren’t many things to see in Chicago, but I still remember visiting the Greenfield Village, part of the larger Henry Ford museum.

After spending some time in Edison’s laboratories, I noticed a small house labeled Wright Cycle Co., and I realised that this should be the Wright brothers shop, moved here from Dayton, Ohio.

In a relatively small space (the building size was modest), the museum presented how the Wright brothers struggled to solve the flying problem.
Wright Flyier I Their approach was quite methodical for that time, and they worked several years with various gliders, including using a home made wind tunnel, to find the best shapes for their wings and propellers, and, the most difficult part, to solve the three-axis control of the aircraft. The story in itself is fascinating, and the epic flight in December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, is considered the birth date of modern aviation.

But, to my surprise, the story didn’t end here, there was one more panel:

… 66 years later, the man stepped on the Moon …

Wow! That’s right, on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the Moon! 66 years, less than the average life span…
What an amazing progress from the barely controllable wooden airplanes of the Wright brothers, to the perfectly executed Apollo 11 flight to the Moon!

It is true that Apollo 11 was the culmination of a decade long effort, initiated by the vision of a young president (equally motivated by the cold war competition with the russians), and backed by the largest world economy, but the fact remains, in only 66 years men got their wings and reached for the Moon!


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Liviu Ionescu (ilg)

Hi! My name is Liviu Ionescu (ilg, ilegeul or eunete for colleagues and friends) and I’m a senior IT engineer. Or should I say a real programmer?

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