The Wright brothers inaugurated the aerial age with the world's first successful flights of a powered heavier-than-air flying machine. The Wright Flyer was the product of a sophisticated four-year program of research and development conducted by Wilbur and Orville Wright beginning in 1899. After building and testing three full-sized gliders, the Wrights' first powered airplane flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, making a 12-second flight, traveling 36 m (120 ft), with Orville piloting. The best flight of the day, with Wilbur at the controls, covered 255.6 m (852 ft) in 59 seconds.
It is not very well known that Leonardo da Vinci invented the worlds first landing gear system for an aircraft. Obviously while he was designing and contemplating his flying machines he realized the simple rule – “what goes up, must come down”. What he came up with as a way to safely land back on solid earth is quite extraordinary – retractable landing gear. Take note of the image below, it is taken from a sketch of his regarding the Ornithopter (human powered flying machine). On top you can see the mechanics of how a human could create the flapping motion similar to a birds.
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