At Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nev., the past and the present will sit side-by-side providing a rare glimpse of aviation history as the USU Wright Flyer will be flown and then parked next to the Air Force's newest fighter jet, the F/A-22, on May 28.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of powered flight, Utah State University students and faculty, working with the Space Dynamics Laboratory, designed and built the flyer using space-age materials, as if the Wright brothers were designing their plane today.
Kevlar and graphite replaced the muslin and spruce used in the original Flyer. These two composites are manufactured in Utah and used in space shuttles, next-generation rockets and military aircraft. A Harley Davidson twin-cam 88B engine functions as USU's modern-day version of the engine originally built by Charles Taylor for the Wright brothers.
After two years and over 10,000 hours of hard work from Utah State engineering and aviation technology students and faculty, the USU Wright Flyer has been tested and flown over 50 times. The futuristic flyer is more stable than the original, but still preserves the look of the Wright brothers' first plane.
The Flyer is scheduled to travel to the Inventing Flight Celebration in Dayton, Ohio in July of 2003. President George W. Bush will be in attendance as an honorary guest, and former Senator and Space Shuttle Astronaut Jake Garn will be at the controls for the celebratory flight.
The U.S. Centennial Flight Commission has designated the USU Wright Flyer project as an official centennial event. It has also gained the attention of national media with spotlights to be featured on the Learning Channel and the History Channel in 2003.
The celebration of powered flight will give the residents of Nevada an opportunity to reflect on the past and compare it to the future.
USU Wright Flyer
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RocketCam to Capture Flight of Wright Flyer Replica
Pasadena - Dec 18, 2002
Ecliptic's RocketCam imaging system will provide onboard video of the commemorative flight of Utah State University's full-scale modern replica of the Wright brothers' historic aircraft, the Wright Flyer.
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