The minister of finance tried to curb these royal ___.
Many great inventions are greeted with ridicule and disbelief. The invention of theairplane was no exception. Although many people who heard about the first poweredflight on December 17,1903, were excited and impressed, others reacted with peals oflaughter. The idea of flying an aircraft was repulsive to some people. Such people calledWilbur and Orville Wright, the inventors of the first flying machine, impulsive fools.Negative reactions, however, did not stop the Wrights. Impelled by their desire to succeed,they continued their experiments in aviation.Orville and Wilbur Wright had always had a compelling interest in aeronautics andmechanics. As young boys they earned money by making and selling kites andmechanical toys. Later, they designed a newspaper-folding machine, built a printing press,and operated a bicycle-repair shop. In 1896, when they read about the death of OttoLilienthal, the brother's interest in flight grew into a compulsion.Lilienthal, a pioneer in hang-gliding, had controlled his gliders by shifting his body in thedesired direction. This idea was repellent to the Wright brothers, however, and theysearched for more efficient methods to control the balance of airborne vehicles. In 1900and 1901, the Wrights tested numerous gliders and developed control techniques. Thebrothers' inability to obtain enough lift power for the gliders almost led them to abandontheir efforts.After further study, the Wright brothers concluded that the published tables of air pressureon curved surfaces must be wrong. They set up a wind tunnel and began a series ofexperiments with model wings. Because of their efforts, the old tables were repealed intime and replaced by the first reliable figures for air pressure on curved surfaces. Thiswork, in turn, made it possible for them to design a machine that would fly. In 1903 theWrights built their first airplane, which cost less than one thousand dollars. They evendesigned and built their own source of propulsion- a lightweight gasoline engine. Whenthey started the engine on December 17, the airplane pulsated wildly before taking off.The plane managed to stay aloft for twelve seconds, however, and it flew one hundredtwenty feet.By 1905 the Wrights had perfected the first airplane that could turn, circle, and remainairborne for half an hour at a time. Others had flown in balloons or in hang gliders, but theWright brothers were the first to build a full-size machine that could fly under its ownpower. As the contributors of one of the most outstanding engineering achievements inhistory, the Wright brothers are accurately called the fathers of aviation.