By the USU office of media relations
The Utah State University Wright Flyer will take to the skies at the Brigham City Airport between 10 a.m. and noon Wednesday, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of powered flight.
"It is going to be exciting to fly on the anniversary," said Wayne Larsen, USU Wright Flyer pilot and Utah State alumnus from Brigham City. "It is a way to reflect on the 100 years since the Wright Brothers first flight and to celebrate what they gave to us. It is also an opportunity for us to share in the excitement of what is transpiring in Kitty Hawk."
On Dec. 17, 1903, Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright made history, sustaining the first 12 seconds of controlled powered flight on the shores of Kitty Hawk, N.C.
Utah State students and faculty wanted to commemorate the Wright brother's historic accomplishment by building a futurist replica of the Wright Flyer using modern materials and technology as if the Wright brotherís were building the plane today.
After receiving approval from the Wright Family, the USU Wright Flyer project began two years ago.
More than 10,000 hours of work from Utah State engineering and aviation technology students and faculty went into the USU Wright Flyer.
The project was supported by the Utah State University Research Foundation, the Space Dynamics Laboratory, the National Composite Center and the U.S. Air Force.
"I have always loved airplanes," said Nick Alley, design project manager and Utah State doctoral student.
"Being able to design build and fly an airplane that the founding fathers of aviation created has been one of the greatest experiences of my life."
Most of the materials for the USU Wright Flyer were donated, by aviation and aerospace companies. ATK Thiokol Propulsion, which built the 40-foot wing spars, was the largest material donor. A Harley Davidson twin-cam 88B engine functions as Utah State's modern-day version of the engine originally built by Charles Taylor for the Wright brothers.
Kevlar and graphite, used in the space shuttle and military aircraft, replaced muslin and spruce used in the original Flyer.
The USU Wright Flyer has flown nearly 300 times, since its first flight in March of this year.
The longest flight, of 12 minutes, was recorded in a historic moment during the Inventing Flight Celebration in Dayton, Ohio. On July 5, 2003, the USU Wright Flyer became the first and only Flyer to fly over Huffman Prairie Flying Field since the Wright brothers.
"There is nothing in my entire career of over 15,000 flying hours that compares to flying over Huffman Prairie Flying Field," said Larsen. "To fly where the Wright brothers learned to fly was a phenomenal experience."
The USU Wright Flyer will be featured on The History Channels Wright Challenge, at 6 and 10 p.m. Dec. 17 and on Tech TV. To see photos and video clips and find out more about the USU Wright Flyer, visit the web site at http://www.usuwrightflyer.org/.
To learn more about the History Channel special, see http://www.historychannel.com/wright/teams.html.