Wright Flyer Repairs Update

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The soft sands of Kill Devil Hill can be cruel and hard, as Ken Hyde's Wright Experience team discovered last week when their Wright Flyer reproduction was damaged in a crash. "I think the repairs will be done by Monday morning," pilot Kevin Kochersberger told AVweb on Saturday, but he couldn't be certain. The propellers were damaged, but backup spares are available, he said. The engine and the drive train were okay. The repairs require "nothing too out of the ordinary," he said -- fixing some damage to the structure and the rigging. Kochersberger had free-flown the airplane successfully prior to the crash, completing a hop of about 100 feet and four seconds, at just a few feet off the ground. "That doesn't sound like much," he said, "but it was enough to prove what we needed to prove, and showed that all the controls were working. It was a totally controlled flight, with a good landing." Kochersberger said they are continuing to learn a lot about the aircraft by studying videotapes of the flights and information from the flight data recorder carried on board. "It measures about 18 parameters -- acceleration, airspeed, angles of attack -- all the data you would need for a flight evaluation program," he said.