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Kitty Hawk - The Wright Brothers' Journey of Invention (Collector's Edition DVD)
Kitty Hawk - The Wright Brothers' Journey of Invention
Collector's Edition DVD
Actors: Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Roger Mueller
Director: David Garrigus
Genres: Documentary
NR     2003     1hr 55min

KITTY HAWK definitively documents the gripping tale of hardship, perseverance, and true genius of Orville and Wilbur Wright. Follow the brothers through their epic journey of discovery that culminated in the first successf...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Roger Mueller
Director: David Garrigus
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Biography
Studio: David Garrigus Productions
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 12/17/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 55min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
Edition: Collector's Edition
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Kitty Hawk - The Wright Brothers' Journey of Invention
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Very good documentary about the first flight at Kitty Hawk, NC. It is evident that alot of research and work went in to making this documentary. Particulary recreating the early experimental gliders. Old photographs combined with computer graphics help tell the story of how two young "average" Americans conquered the air. The narrator even continues the story after "Kitty Hawk". Providing information on what followed the first flight. Former astronaunts Neil Armstrong and John Glenn provide the voices of Orville and Wilbur Wright. It is clear that these two men were selected primarily for nostalgic reasons. The voices of men in their 80's don't quite match the Wright Brothers who were in their 30's. However, the story is told with great detail and deserves a place in every High School library. If you are looking for an entertaining film with literary filler this is not the movie for you. But, if you are looking for a clear and accurate account of the first flight, told in a documentary format, you will be very pleased. Great historical - I loved this film!"
How did they do it? ............ Look, listen and learn!!
Anthony G. Sanchez | Golden, Colorado, USA | 11/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a excellent 2 disk set. It includes a brief introduction into the early life of the Wright Brothers and their close knit family, and quickly gets into the story of their experiences involved with their invention of the airplane.
Also included are some of the legal problems that they encountered years later in trying to protect their invention.The footage of their early experiments of testing their un-powered gliders was actually shot near the site of their now famous First Flight, Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. It is some of the best footage of these recreated flight's I've ever seen. Well worth it just for that footage alone. Also included were computer simulations of what the first Powered flight might have looked like. Not as exciting as the glider footage, being a simulation, they were none the less very educational in showing what the brothers went through on that cold, windy day 100 years ago.The 2nd disk also includes interviews with some of the modern day pilots that are hoping to fly a replica of the 1903 Flyer 1 on Dec. 17th, 2003 at the Wright Brothers National Monument. In addition is a nice collection of some of the letters that the Wright Brothers wrote and received during their years of experiment and inventing. Also included, a collection of original photographs that the Wrights took of their gliders, and later powered aircraft. To me, the highlight of the 2nd disk is the collection of early motion pictures that were taken by news reporters, the military and I would guess friends of the Wright's. I've seen bits and pieces of some of these Black and White moving pictures but to have the collection included in this 2 disk set was an unexpected bonus.I would recommend this 2 disk set to anyone interested in early aviation history, and having a great documentary of the Wright Brothers and their experiments that concluded with the invention of the airplane.A great piece of work created for the Centennial of Flight, 2003."
The Journey of Invention!
S. Cartwright | Reno, NV United States | 01/05/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a video worth watching, as it chronicles the details of the work of Wilbur and Orville in an understandable, entertaining, yet concise form. It points out that in the beginning, the Wrights traveled to Kitty Hawk (summer of 1900 and 1901) more as a vacation, extending their "hobby", rather than with the intent of inventing the airplane. Despite their success at flying their early gliders, Wilbur himself was disappointed that their field testing of their glider didn't match the calculated numbers from Otto Lilienthal's polar scale calculations on lift, that lead him and his brother (Orville) to ponder the reason behind this (oh, the mind of an engineer).

After returning home from Kitty Hawk in the late summer of 1901, the Wrights were seriouslly considering giving up, but Wilbur received a note from Octave Chanute, inviting him (Wilbur) to speak at the annual Western Society of Engineers conference (Chicago) in September of 1901. Preparing for his presentation Wilbur discovered, not only the mistakes of Lilienthal's calculations, but discovered the true nature of how an airfoil functions, as the shape relates to the Coefficient of Lift, the Coefficient of Drag, and its aspect ratio. It was during the winter of 1901-1902, that the Wrights would change, from being mere hobbist, to being the first true research & development engineers, seeking answers to the idea of developing the world's first practical airplane.

In 1814, Sir George Cayley (UK) was the first to publish that the concept of a successful "heavier-than-air" flying machine would require: Propulsion, Lift, and Control. With this in mind, the Wrights were the first to design and build an HTA that fullfilled all three of Sir Cayley's stated requirements in the same machine.

Working backwards in relation to every other early HTA pioneer of that time, Wilbur's perception of a successful flight can be found in his first letter he sent to Octave Chanute, May 13, 1899, when Wilbur stated: "..I also conceive Lilienthal's apparatus to be inadequate, not only from the fact that he failed, but my observations of the flight of birds convince me that birds use more positive and energetic methods of regaining equilibrium than that of shifting the center of gravity..."

Every aviation pioneer of that era, including: Langley, Lilienthal, Maxim, Chanute, Herring, Pilcher, Archdeacon, Ferber, Dumont, Delagrange, Farman, Weisskopf (Whitehead), Esnault-Peltrie, Levavasseur, and Bleriot believed that succussful flight could only be acheived by the concept of "Inherit Stability", where the machine would be designed to maintain level (with lift generated by the pressure against the underside of it's wings), and a turn would be accomplished by the shifting of weight, sometimes combined with a rudder to act like a boat's rudder, to complete a turn. Because of the air machine's "Inherit Stability", input from its pilot would only be necessary if the machine moved from a level condition.

Wilbur Wright believed the opposite was true, as he had observed that birds maintained control, while soaring, by constantly inputing minor changes (with their wingtip feathers) to constantly correct themselves, in otherwords; "Inherit Instability". Its understandable why the Wrights understood this fundemental difference, as they were bicycle builders and bicycles require the same equilibrum balance as an airplane requires, especially considering an airplane must operate in a 3-dimensional world.

This documentary does give a view of the two brothers at a more "personal" level, with most of the information coming from letters and journals of those involved during that period. The video contains dozens and dozens of period photographs (most of which were actually taken by the Wrights), computer generated videos, and giving a true sense of what occurred through the use of taped re-enactments. (with the voices of Wilbur and Orville provided by John Glenn & Neil Armstrong).

Overall, this documentary is NOT about who was first to get airborne (the Wright's December 14th and December 17th, 1903 flights where the 9th known successful attempts to get airborne by anyone), but is about how the Wrights were the first engineers to develop all aspects of a working practical airplane, which lead to all we see around us today. The Wrights were not the first to get airborne with a "heavier-than-air" flying machine, but they were most certainly the first with an airplane that actually worked.

If you have even a casual interest at all in how the airplane was invented, this documentary is well worth viewing and should be the part of all school curriculums, as it shows the reality of how the individual, using common sense, science, and mathematics, can work through the complexities of successful invention.

I am quite familar with most aspects of the early aviation pioneers, a familarity I gained during nearly 10 years of research for my unpublished book titled: "From The Ground Up".

I did note one interesting error in this documentary, though not particularly important to the value of this dvd in the overall, considering where the error comes from is what surprised me the most. One of those often interviewed in this documentary is Nick Engler, owner of the website, "The Wright Aeroplane Company", based in Dayton, Ohio and Nick misquotes the dates of the Wright's first flight. The first day the Wrights had sufficient wind to attempt flight was December 13th, 1903, but the 13th was a Sunday and the two brothers had promised their father (a bishop in a Christen Church) they would never fly on a Sunday, so they kept their promise. The following day, Monday the 14th, the wind was all but gone, so they moved their launching rail up the side of a Kill Devil Hills sand-dune and Wilbur, after winning a coin toss, attempted first. He did got airborne for a very short distance, but damaged the Flyer in his uncontrolled landing. It took a couple of days to repair the Flyer, but on Thursday (the 17th), the weather had picked up, though was very cold. On this day, they completed 4 flights, with Orville being first when he stayed in the air for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. (the photo of this flight, taken by the Kill Devil Hills life saver John Daniels, is the one everyone is familar with). Wilbur was next covering about 175 feet, Orville then went 200 feet, with Wilbur following up with a flight for 852 feet). At just a little after noon that day, while the Wrights and the Kill Devil Hills life-guards were having lunch and talking about the Wright's successful flights, a sudden wind gust flipped the Flyer over and over, damaging it beyond repair.

Nick Engler's error in the documentary "Kitty Hawk", is that he states that the first day the weather is best is on the 16th, but due to their (the Wright's) promise to not fly on Sundays to their father, they decide to wait until the following day, Monday the 17th, to then try. That is quite interesting, as all you have to do is pick up a 1903 calendar and you will see that December 13th was Sunday and the 17th (when the Wrights had their first successful flights) was a Thursday!

This last September (2009) while at the Reno National Air Races, I picked up a copy of this documentary, "Kitty Hawk", and I noticed the person working the booth wearing a T-Shirt that said, on the front of the shirt: "..two wrongs don't make a right, but two Wrights make an airplane!""