Good but too short
K. Gittins | CA USA | 10/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nicely made, though rather brief overview of the Wright Brothers development of the first controlled powered airplane flight in 1903.
This pair of bicycle shop owners, having never gone to college, performed a feat that many thought impossible - controlled, powered flight.
Obviously they built upon the expermentation of others such as Otto Lillienthal's glider tests and airfoil calculations (which proved to be inaccurate), but the Wrights developed their own airfoil design, made their own engine, carved the contra-rotating propellers, and developed wing-warping and a movable rudder for control.
Pursuant to the patent law at the time, they were prevented from demonstrating their machine, as other people worked on their own planes, notably the Frenchman Alberto Santos-Dumont who became the first European to briefy fly (in a short, straight hop) in 1906. Even a year later after the Wrights secured a patent and demonstrated their plane in Paris, the crowd was in awe of sustained and controlled flight - a miracle not thought possible.
The DVD has some nice computer-generated models and demonstrations, some archive movies of the planes in flight, and a brief analysis of the classic still photograph of the first 12 second flight - the only photo taken that day out of 4 flights. Also included are current-day historians with anecdotal comments of the Wrights and their accomplishments.
The DVD says it is 50 minutes long, but it is in fact only 43 minutes - rather skimpy. The DVD has no features at all beyond chapters. A bit pricey, but for history/airplane buffs it is perhaps an essential documentary."