I wasn’t sure that the noises and shouts were part of my dream. I just lay in the straw waiting. Soon it became quiet except for the December wind and the sleeping sounds of my brother.
How far had we walked last night? I had been so tired from walking, but my brother kept insisting that if I wanted to see the ocean, we had to keep going. I had never seen the ocean, not in all my thirteen years of living in North Carolina. I was still so exhausted that I wish that I hadn’t listened to Mark. Because he was two years older, being born in 1888, he acted like he knew everything.
Two days. It had been a journey of over eighty miles from our farm in Murfreesboro to get to Albemarle Sound. We had taken two days of walking, dawn to dusk, to get here. I wasn’t even sure where “here” was. Mark had said that I would see something worth remembering. I thought that he had meant the ocean—its waves, the foam, the salt water, but he was so determined to come here that I suspected that he had another reason.
I could feel the hunger in my stomach. I was cold and so tired. Fortunately this barn attic gave us some shelter from the biting wind. Now that it was daylight, I wanted to see the ocean’s surf and then go home.
The noises started again. It sounded like a motor. It was time, I decided, to investigate.
Carefully I climbed down the ladder and silently walked over to a small window. The late morning sun was coming through the panes. My eyes suddenly widened. Outside there was a group of men standing around what seemed to be . . . I didn’t know. It had . . . .
“See I told you that you would see something worth remembering,” said Mark with a wide grin. He had crept on me and pushed me out of the way.
“What is it?” I stammered.
“That,” he responded all-knowingly, “is an airplane!”
“Airplane, you dimwit. See the wings, the propellers, the motor. They’re going to fly!”
“Fly,” I almost shouted. “People Can’t fly; that’s dumb!”
“Be quiet; we aren’t supposed to be here,” Mark said moving me farther out of the way for a better view. “I heard the men talking at the General Store back home about two brothers who were flying gliders here at the Kitty Hawk dunes. They’re from Ohio and have been experimenting with gliders for a couple of years. Last week I heard that they had built an engine to power an air machine and were going to test it out. I had to come and see . . . Look!” he said.
I peered out and saw the men moving the flying machine onto a wooden rail. To the side, two men were flipping a coin; then one of them went to the machine and lay down on the center of the bottom wing while the other steadied the right wing. The two wooden propellers began to turn faster as the motor roared over the wind. The machine began to move forward, faster into the wind and . . . and up! It was flying!
I heard my breath as the airplane rose; it traveled through the air well over a hundred feet in just seconds and then landed on its skids. The men began to shout and wave their arms in victory.
Almost to himself Mark said, “We’ve seen history.” Taking a deep breath he continued, “That was Orville who flew, the one with the mustache. Wilbur is his brother, who held the wing steady. Their family name is Wright. We witnessed the first successful flight, a powered, sustained flight and the wings didn’t twist or turn. Orville was controlling them with wires attached to the wing tips and the rudder. Others have been up in balloons and have flown gliders—planes without motors—over short distances. We saw a powered, heavier-than-air machine fly.”
“But how? How could it go up?” I tested him.
“Lift,” He answered. “The air flowed under the wings slower than above them and gave lift. The motor gave the power to the propellers and the wires allowed the pilot to control the airplane.”
“How do you know about that stuff?”
“I’ve read some,” he replied.
“No one will believe this,” I muttered.
“Didn’t you see the man near the camera at the end of the rail? He took a photograph. Come on, let’ s see the ocean.”
* * *
After reading the story, answer the questions below. Choose the best answer from the choices given.
1. In what year does the story take place?
2. Where does the story take place?
A. Murfreesboro, North Carolina
B. Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
C. on a fag in North Carolina
D. on a farm in Ohio
3. At what time of day did the flight take place?
4. Which of the following does
5. Choose the correct verb for the sentence: Before the Wright Brothers nobody had actually _____ heavier-than-air machine.
The epoch making first flight at Kill Devil, a sandy dune near the tiny fishing village of Kitty Hawk covered a distance of 120 feet in i2 seconds and was witnessed by five people, who the brothers had arranged to be there. The Wrights were perspective enough to have witnesses because of the controversy and claims attached to other attempts at flying. That Thursday morning, December 17, 1903, marked the beginning of a new age. With Orville at the controls, the Wrights had coupled mind and spirit and had satisfied a longing that mankind had had for thousands of years—to fly like the birds. They made the first powered, sustained and controlled flight in a machine that was heavier than air.
On the fourth and last flight of that day, Wilbur flew for 59 seconds and covered 852 feet, over a half mile in the air. It would not be until 1906 that any other airplane except the Wright Flyer could remain in the air for more than 20 seconds. The airplane was the beginning of a new type of transportation. It would bring people of the world within a day’s journey; within a lifetime the earth’s size would shrink under the impact of the airplane.
* * *