Clubs Wright Brothers' ingenuity explained

Rotarian Bob Grossmann describes himself as "a certifiable airplane nut."

He owns his own plane, and flies it quite it frequently. So who better to tell his fellow Rotarians about what happened 100 years ago than Grossmann?

On Dec. 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, NC, Orville and Wilbur Wright's dream of powered flight came true.

"In true American tradition, the Wright Brothers made something that changed the whole complexion of the globe," Grossmann said. "They broke down a complex problem into a group of simpler problems to finally reach their goal."

The Wright Brothers' quest to invent a successfully working airplane began in 1900, with a rather simple step � they began flying kites. They built the Wright glider, and through trial and a lot of error � "they crashed a lot," Grossmann said � Orville and Wilbur began to learn more and more about what was required to make a machine fly.

They designed wings by measuring the forces on their curved surfaces as they passed through the air. They first tried doing this with by moving a wing through the air by carrying it as they rode on bicycles.

That proved to be impractical, however. So they built themselves a wind tunnel in 1902. "They measured 200 different wing shapes," Grossmann said.

Through that trial and error process, and a lot of sleepless nights pondering the challenges that seemed to always pop up, they determined they would need an moveable rudder to be able to steer their flying machine properly. They tried to find a engine that weighed less than 200 pounds and would produce eight horsepower to power their plane.

When one couldn't be found, they designed their own.

The original Wright flyer that first took to the air at Kitty Hawk had a 40-foot wingspan, and propellers that the brothers carved from wood.

"These guys had flown from 300 to 500 times apiece before they got into a powered airplane," Grossmann said, describing their experiences with gliders. "They were expert pilots."

Orville made the first successful flight on Dec. 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk. He was airborne for 12 seconds, and traveled 120 feet.

Guests of the Rotary Club Tuesday, Dec. 16 were Anders Fremstad, Beth Jensen and Vermillion High School seniors Marissa Boomgaarden, Richard Boyd III, Amanda Walton and Dan Gilbertson.

The Rotarians' next luncheon meeting at the Al Neuharth Media Center will be Jan. 6.

Seniors have enjoyable afternoon

On Thursday, Dec. 18 10 dominoes players spent an enjoyable afternoon at the center. Table 1 had June Munkvold with 421 and Louie Fostvedt the winner with 269 points. At table 2, Louise Eklund had 369 and Barb Larson was the winner with 143 points.

On Tuesday, Dec. 23, we had five players also at each table. At table 1, Marlene Amundsen had 463 and June Munkvold was the winner with 214 points. At table 2, Veronica Heirmes had 384 points and Barb Larson had 139 to be the winner.

Wishing all a new year of happiness and good health.

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