|Posted: December 18, 2003, 9:35 am - IP Logged|
Not the Wright Stuff
On Centennial, Re-creation of First Flight Sputters; Second Attempt Called Off
By WILLIAM L. HOLMES, AP
KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (Dec. 17) -- A 100th-anniversary attempt to re-create the Wright brothers' first flight flopped Wednesday when a delicate, wood-and-muslin replica of their airplane failed to get off the ground and splashed into a mud puddle.
On a rainy day when the winds on North Carolina's Outer Banks were plane, created at a cost of $1.2 million, twisted awkwardly before stopping with its right wing pushed into the sand, leaving a snapped crosswire and broken fitting.
As a crowd estimated at 35,000 groaned, pilot Kevin Kochersberger dropped his head in disappointment. President Bush, who had spoken at the anniversary festivities earlier in the day, had already left and was not on hand to see things go wrong.
About three hours later, after repairs to the engine and front wing assembly, organizers rolled the plane out to its runway to wait for the rain to ease and the wind to pick up.
And they wondered why it did not fly?