formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

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September 8, 2015 Tweeting 1903

The Liberty Gazette
September 8, 2015
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Imagine if there was social media on December 17, 1903.

Anchor: Breaking news this morning from the Outer Banks, an attempt at flying a machine has been successful. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all exploding with the news. Orville Wright, the man who made this first flight has tweeted, "First flight 20 ft up, 120 ft across ground, 12 secs!" We take you now to the scene where reporter Erin Kelly of WVBT has the story. Erin, this is the hottest topic on social media, first flight in an aeroplane, and it’s been accomplished by two bicycle repairmen from Ohio. Can you fill us in on what’s happening there in the sand dunes near Kitty Hawk?

Erin: Good morning. It’s been an exciting day so far, with the first engine-powered manned flight already in the history books. We’re here at Big Kill Devil Hill, just south of Kitty Hawk.

I’m actually surprised at the small crowd here, because this is big news. Now, they definitely had some problems with this first flight, but I did hear them talking just before we went on the air, they’re going to make some repairs and try again… hold on, I think we can get Orville over here for an interview –

Orville, congratulations on this first powered flight! Tell us about it, how did it feel? Was it great sport?

Orville: The exhilaration of flying is too keen, the pleasure too great, for it to be neglected as a sport. This is something my brother and I have been focused on for several years now, this isn’t just a whim, you know. This is a great feeling. We chose the right place and we have ideal conditions today with this wind – it’s perfect!

Erin: You said that the conditions are ideal today, tell us about that, the wind. Is that what makes the aeroplane stay up in the air?

Orville: The airplane stays up because it doesn’t have the time to fall. No, in all seriousness, the wind is blowing about 20, 25 miles an hour. Soon as we slipped the rope the flying machine started moving, probably seven or eight miles an hour, then it just lifted from the track at about the fourth rail. We laid these rails here in the sand dunes so we’d have something firm to guide us along the ground.

Erin: Was it what you thought it would be?

Orville: I had a hard time controlling the front rudder. I think it’s balanced too near the center, so the machine turned and I tried to correct for it but it darted for the ground. We have some repairs to make and then Will is going to take the next flight. I think I was up there about 12 seconds, a little longer, actually, but they didn’t start the watch right away. Hey, I’ve got to go – thanks!

Erin: Well, you heard it, straight from the first man to fly an aircraft with engine power. There’s going to be some amazing news in the days to come, and who knows where this discovery may take us?

Anchor: Thanks, Erin. Exciting times. We’ve got a picture up now from Instagram, from a JT Daniels and folks, you can see it right there, this flying ship is above the ground. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and we’ll have more for you as this story develops. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

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