Modern Hazards Hamper Kitty Hawk Crew
Creators of the Wright Flyer replica that will (hopefully) fly on Dec. 17 say modern influences are making conditions for their attempt at history trickier than those the Wrights faced. Wright Experience owner Ken Hyde said progress has increased turbulence at the hallowed patch of sand near Kill Devil Hills. "In 1903, this area was a desolate piece of sand with nothing to interrupt the flow of air all the way to the ocean," Hyde said. "Today, houses and buildings abound and trees have been planted to stabilize the dunes. This creates more turbulence but we're learning to live with that," he said. Part of the learning experience was a Nov. 25 mishap that damaged the aircraft, but flight tests have resumed. Hyde said it took just four days to fix the damage caused when the nose dropped shortly after liftoff with Terry Queijo at the controls. She wasn't hurt. Hyde said they learned from the mishap. "In recent days we've learned a tremendous amount on operational processes and in reading the wind, so we will be well-prepared for the re-enactment." Queijo and the other pilot, Dr. Kevin Kochersberger, will flip a coin to see who flies the aircraft on Dec. 17. If you want to be there, you're only hope is to find tickets on eBay (at vastly inflated prices) or in newspaper classifieds.