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On the morning of 17 December 1903, 10.35 EST time, 27 mph winds, location Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Orville Wright turned his cap around and settled on top of FlyerÂ’s wing. The engine was allowed to warm for a couple of minutes, when Orville began to take off while his brother Wilbur was running alongside to steady the wing. Orville lifted off cleanly commanding steadily the flying structure for 12 seconds to touch down softly on the sand, 120 feet further away.

The first ever ‘’heavier than air powered flight’’ in human history was a fact thanks to the patience and persistence of the two brothers, owners of a bicycle repair shop in Dayton, Ohio.

Since that chilly morning of December, the world was never the same again. The wings of mythical Icarus had given their place to a two-wing structure and his muscles had been replaced by a 12 horse power engine crafted by their mechanic Charles Taylor. The myth became reality.

Never in history of world civilization a human device has brought the mankind so close to life and death. The airplane has shrunk the world, brought different civilizations together, helped in the development of economy and commerce, launched technology to the Moon and Mars and even longer to other planets, but at the same time, it pointed at the human life with surgical accuracy.

A hundred years later, the airplane remains younger than ever. The forthcoming new generation of aircraft like AIRBUS 380 and BOEING 7E7 will resemble in no way, the humble structure of Wright brothers. The only thing that remains unchanged amongst worldÂ’s aviation enthusiasts, is the spirit of freedom and adventure that push the human gender beyond the fantasy boundaries.

On the morning of 17 December 2003, 12.35 EST time, 10 mph winds, location Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Engineering professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology Kevin Kochersberger commemorating the epic flight of Wright brothers, 100 years and 2 hours later, failed to lift off an exact replica of the Flyer. It was irony, but history does not repeat itself and when attempts to do so, it ends up in farce.

Athens, 17 December 2003, 17.35 local time.

Takis Adamidis