I was fortunate to have the chance to get an education in a field I have had a passion for all my life – Aviation and Aerospace. I got to attend a College in the Midwest where I attended classes to learn about The Theory of Flight and Flying Machines. These classes were created and refined over many years as knowledge of these disciplines grew and evolved. I did not have to create the theory and I studied it. While studying the lessons at each stage of my Aerospace education there were opportunities to attend labs and put the theory to practice make observations and record the results, discuss the results with the instructors and so on!
Now let’s travel back to the early 20th Century. We are in Dayton, Ohio and we meet a couple of brothers by the name Orville &Wilbur Wright. They build and repair bicycles and struggle to make a living in their community. They are creative and innovative, enjoy their time off and they are fascinated with how birds fly. Birds are relatively “heavy” yet they soar and glide with ease. They move their wings to climb higher and higher, they turn and circle. They of course walk around on their feet, yet inflight their feet are tucked back and then they extend them for landing.
In addition to building bicycles the Wright Brothers fly kites. I love to fly kits, sort of connects one with the wind and the sky. Anyway in flying kites and watching birds the Wright Brothers continue studying how they work. The kites start getting larger and larger. Large enough for a man to lay down and “fly” on. During this process of discovery the Wright Brothers sought to understand how the birds could fly higher and turn by flapping their wings and changing the shape of their wings on one side or the other.
They were devolving the solutions in the minds, on paper notes and sketches; but need to test their “theories” so they built a Wind Tunnel. A small chamber where air is blown past a surface and you can watch it’s resulting reaction. So they build “wing” models and began testing, “Creating the the Path …” Next they want their “kite” to stay up longer then a mere glide would provide, so they decided to power the kite. Well it’s 1902 or so, you can’t go down to your local engine shop and just pickup an engine, let alone one powerful enough to power their kite, a man flying it and so on. Sooooo guess what they set about to design an engine and then build it, “Creating the the Path …”
Now we got the basic kite and an engine, how do you translate the engine power to the kite and power the kite and the man forward, let alone turn right and left. A propeller was next. Using the lessons learned from their Wind Tunnel tests the Wright Brothers now understood Lift. Again using no Computer Aided Design (CAD) or Google to search, they began first imagining, sketching concepts and then carving a Propeller that would create “Lift” as it turned, that would in turn propel their kite forward, “Creating the the Path …”
Next came how to turn the kite. Again watching the birds and subsequent testing in their Wind Tunnel the Wright Brothers regards Lift as they watched how the birds maneuver they noted that they changed the shape of their wings one way to turn left and another to turn right. So the Wright Brothers used Wing Warping to increase the Lift on the right Wing to turn left and when turning right they could increase the Lift on the left Wing “Creating the the Path …”
The story goes on and I will probably share more later. The lesson is the Wright Brothers had a dream, they visualized it, wrote about it, talked about it and then began “Creating the Path while Walking It” and each of us has that opportunity each day for real innovation in our lives. Go out and Live Your Dreams each day, never stop “Creating the Path while Walking It”