61,000 people up in the air

The Wright Brothers first powered flight
Considered the first successful flight of the Wright Flyer, by the Wright brothers. The machine traveled 120 ft (36.6 m) in 12 seconds, averaging about 10 feet (3.1 m) above the ground, at 10:35 a.m. at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Orville was at the controls, lying prone on the lower wing with his hips in the cradle operating the wing-warping mechanism. Wilbur ran alongside to balance the machine, and had just released his hold on the forward upright of the right wing in the photo. The starting rail, the wing-rest, a coil box, and other items needed for flight preparation are visible behind the machine.

It was only a little over a hundred years ago that a bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Rev. Milton Wright, claimed that God had reserved flight for birds and angels. (I dunno. I guess he never noticed gnats and mosquitoes.)

Boeing 747-400 taking off
Boeing 747-400 taking off

His sons, Wilbur and Orville, built their first airplane in their bicycle repair shop and flew it for the first time on December 17, 1903.

Just 111 years later, a four-engine Boeing 747-400 in a high density, one-class configuration can carry as many as 660 passengers, cruising at Mach 0.85–0.855 (up to 570 mph or 920 km/h), as far as 8,350 mi (13,450 km) across oceans, continents, or the north pole.

An Airbus A380 can seat up to 853 people. The F22 Raptor fighter cruises at 1,070 mph (1,725 km/h).

The newspaper says 61,000 people are airborne over the United States in any average hour now. The progress in air travel is absolutely stupendous!

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