Happy Birthday Manned Flight!

Today is an important day … without what happened on this date 107 years ago we would not be able to travel from New York to Tokyo in half a day, we would have never been able to fly from New York to London in three-and-a-half hours, we would have never put a man on the moon and of course … Flying With Fish would not exist.

On this date 107 years ago the Wright Brothers made their maiden flight on the beach in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The first flight by Orville Wright along the sands of Kitty Hawk was less than half the distance of an Airbus A380’s wingspan, with the Wright Flyer flying 120 feet … and the Airbus A380’s wingspan being 261.6 feet.

In these 107 years of manned flight there have been many amazing accomplishments, such as supersonic flight and space travel … but one aircraft achievement stands out in my mind … an achievement that stands the test of time.  In the 107 years of flight, the Boeing B-52 has been flying for 58 of those years.

Yes, the B-52 has been flying for more than half the span of human controlled flight and the last new B-52 was built in 1962, meaning the ‘youngest’ B-52 in the sky has been in flight slightly less than half the entire span of time there have been airplanes.  If you’re not completely amazed yet … the B-52s are scheduled to remain in service until 2040 … meaning the ‘youngest’ B-52 flying at the time of retirement will have been flying for 78 years.

We take flying for granted every day, orders fulfilled from an online purchase leave a warehouse in China can arrived on your doorstep the next day in Miami, you can hop on a plane in Frankfurt after lunch and arrive in Hong Kong the next morning for breakfast and now there is even sub-orbital commercial space flight (sure it goes no where, but its pretty cool if you think about it anyway).

With ancient tools found in the Ethiopian Rift Valley showing that mankind may have been around for as long as 276,000 years before we first achieved controlled mechanical flight … its amazing what we’ve been able to achieve in a mere 107 years.

Happy Birthday Manned Flight!

Happy Flying!

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