On the way back from Washington DC, I finished reading The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. Looking for a book to give Jim Dunn for Christmas, I stumbled across this book. Additionally, I read McCullough's book about Truman years ago.
While everyone has heard of Kitty Hawk, I frankly didn't realize where it was. I also didn't realize how long the Wright Brothers spent there working on the glider before they even tried a powered flight. They eventually moved to a field near there home town of Dayton to continue their powered testing.
The brothers' fundamental breakthrough was their invention of three-axis control, which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and to maintain its equilibrium. This method became and remains standard on fixed-wing aircraft of all kinds.
With the American government largely ignoring them initially, I was surprised how much time that they had spent in France. Wilbur spent a long time in France working on and flying the plane in order to win a contract with a French syndicate.
I enjoyed this book a lot and recommend it. I have walked by the 1903 Wright flyer in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. on a number of occasions. I need to go back and look at it again!