by Ahmed Alani and Abderrazak Moutassim,
PhD candidates at Polytechnique School of Montreal
When we speak about the Wright brothers and the airplane, we speak about great inventors and a greater invention that change the face of the earth.
1903 became a starter for a new era. It was the year where the Wright brothers invent their first successful aeroplane that opens the sky to humanity to discover and the imagination to expand to a new horizon that has never been dreamed before.
The reason for their success as inventors, they practice a great analogical reasoning in a number of fields, including the technical, which is key to creativity.
After they started working, they discovered that flying was not just like a puzzle that a try and error approach could resolve. This challenge needs to organise thoughts about many problems. Why they succeeded in flying when many people failed? Because of their great persistence, their high hand skills and, most of all, they were great thinkers.
The Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville, were the playmate to each other. The inflexion point of the Wright brother life started after the face injury of Wilbur in a hockey game. This accident prevents him from continuing his school studies, although he was a good student. His brother Orville did not attend school also.
This dramatic accident let Wilbur spends much time at home. The father Milton was touched and had often brought a toy to Wilbur and his brother when he came back home. A helicopter model toy inspired Wilbur, and he started to read books about anything related to the aeroplane models. With his brother Orville, their love of mechanics and the aeroplanes, they started by opening a bicycle shop, fixing bicycles and selling their own design. Before that, they also launched their own newspaper.
Wilbur and Orville followed the researcher Otto Lilienthal, a German aviator. Incidentally, they observed that birds angled their wings for balance and control. This inspired them to make the first wings design of an aeroplane. They attended to fly their aeroplane for 59 seconds, at 852 feet.
The claims of their invention did not receive a special greeting by the press and companies. Thus, the brothers Wilbur travelled to Europe to publish their works. Finally, they succeeded in getting contracts with companies and developing their own business. Soon, they became the famous brothers for their invention.
Nowadays, because of their invention, the world is getting smaller and smaller in a way that people start to think to live on other planets.
- BOOK ISBN-13: 9780199551330: “How We Reason”, by Philip Johnson-Laird