From late 1908 to the start of 1910, heavier-than-air flight
evolved from a limited curiosity to a broadly accepted technological marvel.
Powered, heavier-than-air flight
had long been thought to be as impossible as the creation of a perpetual motion machine--but that would change as soon as word of their incredible success reached the world.
and foreign governments, the court battles over patent infringements, the business ventures, and the decades-long refusal of the Smithsonian Institution to recognize the Wrights as the inventors of the first machine capable of manned, sustained, heavier-than-air flight
The Barling's wingspan of 120 feet (the exact distance of the first sustained heavier-than-air flight
and longer than the B-17's wingspan of 104 feet) made it unwieldy and underpowered, yet it needed only 320 yards to take off.
Thus, while Orville and Wilbur Wright were beginning their experiments that would lead to powered heavier-than-air flight
in the lower atmosphere, Goddard had started thinking about vehicles for travel to the upper atmosphere and to outer space.
His success convinced Langley that the problem of heavier-than-air flight
had been solved and suggested to others--including some in the War Department--that, if the problem was not so lved, the solution was at least within reach.
19) to the pursuit of controlled heavier-than-air flight
For the first time, a large model with a self-contained power plant had demonstrated heavier-than-air flight
presented special problems: the two most significant being the need for a powerful and reliable, yet very light, motor; and a method for maintaining directional control.