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Flights of Inspiration

Flying is something we can't do naturally, although I'm sure most of us wish we could. Here are a few people who have made a difference in history when it comes to getting us airborne. The first flight, the longest flight and the longest solo trip are all significant events in the history of aviation.

Wright Brothers - First Flight

In 1878, flight was only a dream. Airplanes and helicopters hadn't been invented yet but seven year-old Orville Wright and his 11 year-old brother Wilbur had a dream. They began building and testing a machine that could fly people. They were the first to understand flight. On December 17, 1903 Orville piloted the first flight. It lasted only 12 seconds - but it worked! They managed four flights that day and the final one lasted 57 seconds. On December 17th, the Wright brothers became the first people to fly a machine, heavier than a hot air balloon, under the complete controls of a pilot.

John and Arthur - Longest Flight

John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown were the first people to fly in an aircraft, non-stop, across the Atlantic Ocean. On June 14, 1919, both British fliers climbed into Vickers Vimy (the plane) and took off from Lester's field in Newfoundland - John was the pilot and Arthur was the navigator. They landed in Clifden, Ireland 16 hours and 27 minutes later. When they returned to London, they were greeted like heroes. They were given Lord Northcliffe's Daily Mail prize (10,000 pounds or about $14,286 US) by Winston Churchill, who was Britain's Secretary of State at the time. A few days later, John and Arthur were knighted at Buckingham Palace by King George V for their achievement.

Amelia Earheart - Solo, Female Flight

In 1928 (when she was 31,) Amelia became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic - except she was only a passenger. Four years later, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She also set a record by doing it in only 13.5 hours. She made the first flight from Hawaii to California alone only a few years later. In 1937, Amelia and navigator Fred Noonan, made an attempt to fly around the world. They had gone two-thirds of the way around when they disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. To this day, no one knows what happened to them.

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