"Spirit of Glen Ellyn" Wright Flyer Replica Takes Flight

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Replica Flies Without Major Glitches...

The Wright Redux Association is first in a year that promises more first flight re-enactments. The Association's 1903 Wright Flyer replica, Spirit of Glen Ellyn, made history of sorts on April 27 when pilot Ken Kirincic flew the aircraft 136 feet, making it the first 1903 Wright Flyer replica to achieve free, powered flight, according to its owners. It was the culmination of a four-year effort to fund, build and fly an exact replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. [more]The group worked primarily from information found in the Wright brothers' journals, original Wright photographs, and information obtained from the National Air and Space Museum. Tom Norton and Mark Miller founded the Wright Redux Association in 1999, yet neither are pilots and had never previously attempted to build a flying aircraft. "It's hard to describe what yesterday's flight means to this group," said Miller. "All the work and all the planning came down to one moment. It just came together unbelievably well."

...Others Preparing For Flight

We should point out this is not the first Wright Flyer replica to fly, as Ken Kellett (now with Kermit Weeks's Fantasy of Flight) built a replica and flew it quite a few times for the 75th anniversary. It's also far from the last attempt to replicate the Dec. 17, 1903 feat. Ken Hyde and The Wright Experience plan to launch their own Wright Flyer Replica on the exact anniversary of the Wrights' flight and from the same spot. Hyde's project is part of EAA's Countdown To Kitty Hawk, which boasts its own touring pavilion. (more)Another replica of a Wright design will also take to the skies this summer. At this summer's Muskegon Air Fair, Dana Smith plans to fly a replica of the Wright brothers' Model EX. The Model EX replica is patterned after the "Vin Fiz," which flew from Sheepshead Bay, N.Y., to Long Beach, Calif., in 49 days during the fall of 1911. Smith's version of the Vin Fiz weighs 400 pounds less than the original and has a redesigned rudder.