Writing Homework Ten Student Two

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The Astounding Invention of Flight [EXCELLENT TITLE]

Alexa W

Many people do not stop to think about what the world would have been like without the invention of the airplane; how frequently it is taken for granted. [THE STRUCTURE OF THIS OPENING SENTENCE IS UNUSUAL. IT COULD PROFITABLY CONCLUDE WITH A PERIOD AFTER "AIRPLANE", WITHOUT THE REPETITIVE "HOW FREQUENTLY IT IS TAKEN FOR GRANTED." USE OF THE PRONOUN "IT" IN AN OPENING SENTENCE LIKE THIS IS DISTRACTING TO THE READER] Two insignificant boys from Dayton Ohio named Orville and Wilbur Wright were the ones who envisioned the possibilities of human flight and made it a reality. They could have easily given up at any time but they successfully labored through their obstacles and went on to create one of the greatest innovations that mankind would ever see. Although they faced design difficulties, lack of [NOT A PARALLEL STRUCTURE - A VERB IN THE FIRST CLAUSE BUT NO VERB HERE. IT WOULD BE BETTER TO BE CONSISTENT IN THE STRUCTURE AND SAY "LACKED A FORMAL EDUCATION ...."] a formal education on the subject matter, and the doubts of many, the invention of flight was successfully discovered due to the perseverance of Orville and Wilbur Wright.

Ever since the day their father brought them home a toy helicopter, Orville and Wilbur Wright were fascinated with the idea of human flight. The brothers always claimed that their interest in flight began with the gift their father Milton Wright gave to them when Wilbur was eleven and Orville was seven.1 Even though they had never read any books on flight, the brothers tried to make their own toy flying machines. The boys loved to tinker and had creative imaginations.


In the 1890’s when the bicycle boom hit, the Wrights opened up a shop to construct their own bicycles. While they [UNCLEAR IF "THEY" REFERS TO THE ENTIRE FAMILY, OR ONLY THE TWO BOYS] were selling bikes in the front of their shop, the brothers were working on a glider that they had always dreamed of creating. Ever since their father had given them that toy helicopter, the boys had been curious about flight, and wanted to try their luck at it. Although the boys did not have any books about flight when they were young, they learned a great deal on their own and thus they never believed that you had to be a highly educated person to achieve greatness in life [EXCELLENT POINT].

Being immensely interested in flight, the Wright brothers decided to start making their own airplanes. They soon learned that all of the previous calculations of the former men who had attempted flight were inaccurate. They had to start from scratch and come up with their own data. The brothers discovered that former inventors had not yet worked out a system of control for their aircrafts. Their reasoning was that to efficiently invent [UNCLEAR WHETHER THE "EFFICIENTLY" REFERS TO INVENTING, OR THE AIRPLANE ITSELF. BETTER WOULD BE "TO INVENT AN EFFICIENT AIRPLANE"] the airplane, there needed to first be a functional way to steer and control it.

One day the brothers looked up into the sky, and witnessed a buzzard performing a graceful banked turn. The bird was constantly adjusting the position of his outstretched wings in order to balance himself. He was changing the angle at which the air and his wing met.2 “ We [THERE IS AN INCORRECT EXTRA SPACE BEFORE "WE"] could not understand that there was anything about a bird that could not be built on a larger scale and used by man,” wrote Orville.3 If a bird could adjust its wings to balance itself and make perfect banked turns, then why couldn't an airplane? Unfortunately the wings of an aircraft were not smooth like the wings of a bird. How could they be successfully tilted and twisted?

The answer to Wilbur's question came one day when he made an important discovery. He took an inner tube out of its box and idly twisted the ends of the box in opposite directions. As he looked down at his hands the solution was transparent. “A spiral twist running along an aircraft's wings would make it possible to tilt one wing up and the other down.”4 [GOOD EXPLANATION WITH A REFERENCE]

In their bike shop the Wrights built a kite with a five-foot wingspan.5 This was their first experimental aircraft containing their new system of controls which they called “wing-warping”.6 Because their kite was a success, the Wrights decided to make a much larger glider that could hold a person. For this experiment they needed a windy hill to test it on, so they headed out to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

After they had executed numerous experiments with their gliders, the brothers discovered that the air pressure tables published by previous inventors were also incorrect. Their wings had not produced as much lift as they had expected. As Wilbur reflected on their problem[NEED A COMMA HERE] he observed: “We saw that the calculations upon which all flying machines had been based were unreliable, and that all were simply groping in the dark. Having set out with absolute faith in the existing scientific data, we were driven to doubt one thing after another, till finally, after two years of experiments, we cast it all aside, and decided to rely entirely on our own investigations.”7

In order to efficiently record [AGAIN, AWKWARD USE OF THE ADVERSE "EFFICIENTLY"] their own data, the brothers constructed a wind tunnel. This enabled them to gain far greater accuracy in uncovering the secrets of an aircraft's wing. Through all of their tedious experiments and calculations, the Wrights were successfully on their way to inventing the first practical airplane the world had ever seen.

Wilbur once said,[OMIT THIS COMMA] that for many years he had been,[OMIT THIS COMMA ALSO] “afflicted with the belief that flight is possible.”8 Many people over the years had also believed that flight would someday become a reality. After the attempts of the German glider pilot, Otto Lilienthal, the public started to believe that human flight was a possibility. He inspired many people, including the Wright brothers[NEED COMMA] to try gliding.

However, after the failed attempts of Dr. Samuel Pierpont Langley's flying machines, the public doubted that human flight would ever happen. The U.S. War Department had given a great sum of money for Langley to use in his experiments. When the Wrights offered their flyer to the U.S. War Department, the military officials refused. They did not even want to watch it fly, because they did not want to waste any more money on so called “airplane inventors.” Nevertheless this did not discourage the brothers. They continued to ask the military to watch them fly; they even said that their flying machine would be able to meet certain army specifications. However, after their numerous attempts, Orville and Wilbur were able to accept a contract from the U.S. Signal Corps.9 They even received a contract from the French government, planning to manufacture their Wright Flyer.10

So at the end of May, 1908, Orville returned to Dayton to start constructing a new flyer for the Signal Corps. [NEED CAPITAL "W" HERE]while Wilbur set out to demonstrate to the French a second flyer.11 When Wilbur arrived in France, everyone was very suspicious about the American man who claimed to have invented the first practical airplane. However, after he had completed his first demonstration, the people of France truly believed that the Wrights had invented flight. While Wilbur was demonstrating their plane in France, Orville had a terrible accident while performing one of their test flights for the Signal Corps. While Orville was up in the air with his passenger, the aircraft's right propeller hit a bracing wire and cracked.12 As Orville cut the engine and attempted to land the aircraft, it went into a nose dive, and hit the ground with a terrible thud. Orville was able to walk away from the wreckage[COMMA, "BUT WITH ..."] with a fractured thigh, several broken ribs, severe scalp wounds, and back injuries.13
When the news of Orville's accident reached Wilbur in France, he stopped his test flights and just waited for more news of his brother. In a letter to their sister Katherine, Wilbur wrote, “If I had been there, it would not have happened.'... It was not right to leave Orville to undertake such a task alone.”14

The crash did not end the test flights for the Signal Corps. In fact, they wanted to continue with them after Orville recovered. The accident also did not shake the public's faith in the brother’s flyers. Although they faced many problems in convincing the public that they truly had invented fight, the brothers never gave up, and continued to persevere. In the end no one had any doubts that the Wright brothers truly had invented the airplane.

Today in the 21st century, let us remember the struggles and difficulties of the men who invented human flight. Even though they did not have information about flight easily accessible to them, they still moved forward and conducted their own experiments. Even though public opinion was negative and sparse, they still marched on. Through all of these obstacles, the Wright Brothers could have given up at any moment. Nevertheless[ADD COMMA] thanks to their perseverance, the invention of the airplane was successfully discovered. The world we live in today could have been a very different place if it were not for these two great men.


1. Freedman, Russell,The Wright Brothers How they invented the Airplane ( New York: Holiday House, 1991): 9.

2.Ibid. 29.

3.Ibid, 30.

4.Ibid, 31.


6.Combs, Harry, Kill Devil Hill Discovering the Secret of the Wright Brothers (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1979): 70

7.Freedman, Russell, 47.

8.Gates, Bill, “Aviators: The Wright Brothers,” in “Time,” [1], Monday, March 29, 1999

9.Freedman, Russell, 90.


11.Ibid, 91.

12.Ibid, 99

13.Ibid, 100

14.Ibid, 102

Fabulous essay, which is very well-referenced. Terrific choice of a topic. (Note that the numerous "blockquote" tags are unnecessary.)
On substance, the grade is 9.9/10. There were some technical errors of minor significance, but many of them. Technical score: 9.6/10. Well done!--Andy Schlafly 20:57, 6 May 2012 (EDT)