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Welcome to my art blog from Tasmania, Australia. I post a little on my various art projects while also working in plant genetics. For more, please try the links to my various art pages or email me at silvergumstudio@yahoo.com.au. Thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Kitty Hawk

My view of the Wright flyer
I've just visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina, right in the wake of Hurricane Matthew (see pics below).  The locals were cheerful and unfazed by the fact that sand dunes had been rearranged, low lying areas flooded and power cut.  The Banks are beautiful with wild Atlantic beaches inhabited by horses, a rich history and a series of stunning light houses.  On my must-see list was the site at Kitty Hawk where the Wright brothers made history on December 17, 1903.  Anyone trying to do anything new or difficult should enjoy reading about Orville and Wilbur Wright and just how they managed to achieve the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered aircraft at a time when other inventors were chasing significantly different ideas for powered flight.

Cleaning up after Hurricane Matthew
First of all, they had each other and belonged to a family that valued their endeavours.  Their mother was the original mechanical genius of the clan, and the Wrights built bicycles and other machines, which gave them the confidence to pursue their own concepts.  Between 1900 and 1903, the brothers thoroughly enjoyed spending their spare time camping in wooden shacks among the sand dunes at Kill Devil Hills.  The location gave them open space and plenty of wind power, as well as friendship with a local family.

Flights of stairs washed up on the Outer Banks
I bought two of these books!
First they built a glider and flew it as a kite.  Next, they progressed to manned glider flights.  They built their own wind tunnel to work with drag and lift.  By 1902 they had a new glider design and had learnt how to control its flight.  In 1903 they worked with their shop mechanic to produce a lightweight engine and finally, after numerous disappointments, they achieved sustained flight at Big Kill Devil Hill.  Seeing the monument built there, I finally understood why their plane had no wheels: because they were on soft sand, it was launched from a rail.

It was a big thrill to visit the site, but the Outer Banks were full of other surprises for me.  Among them - this hand-painted mural on the wall of the local supermarket, advertising books by local author Charles Harry Whedbee, who had a very popular TV talk show in the 1960's.  I went straight in and bought two of them.  The first has been reprinted twenty times!  Legends around the lost colony of Roanoke, Blackbeard the pirate and more were collected by Charles during his years of the talk show and compiled into these testaments.  The books are a ripping read, but on top of that, I love the whole concept of that mural advertisement and am determined to have one myself!

1 comment:

  1. WOW! That was awesome!! LOL! Oh my goodness it's been a while, but it was such a joy to hear from you Gay! I hope that you are well. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope that you and your family had a wonderful thankgving! Carolina is beautiful. My family is in low country south carolina near the beach as well.