Ever since man first saw a bird fly, man has wanted to fly. The first attempts were efforts to fly like a bird by attaching feathers to their arms and flapping. Those attempts were unsuccessful. The first successful air flight was in a hot air balloon, surprisingly not in a mechanical aircraft. In 1783 a few men invented the first flying machine by making the hot air balloon. A hot air balloon is a balloon filled with heated air. Since heated air is lighter than cool air, the balloon would rise into the sky. The pilot would ride in a basket attached to the balloon and control the height by adding and subtracting more heat. The problem with hot air balloons is that you can not go the way you want. If the wind is blowing west, that means you would have to go west, too. During the Civil War hot air balloons were used by the armies to look at enemy troops or base. Airplane were later invented after hot air balloons were introduced. The first airplane that was flown was a glider. A glider is a non-motorized flying machine and it is very hard to control. Early gliders were launched from high places like cliffs and floated on the wind to the ground. A man named Sir George Cayel made the first glider that actually flew. His first glider didn't have passengers or a pilot. It was too small and could not fit anyone in it. He made another that flew his coachman across a small valley.
During 1890 while Orville and Wilbur Wright were working in a bicycle shop, the Wright Brothers got interested in flying. They learned that bicycles that were closer to the ground were faster. They read all the books they could find about airplanes to learn more. They then began building gliders near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Wright Brothers improved the glider. In 1899 they made a large, two wing kite. After experimenting for a while on unmanned gliders, they made a glider where the pilot would control the airplane in the air. After working on glider experiments they found out how...
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