Do you remember your first airplane ride? I was about nine or ten and my family flew to Boston to see my brother graduate from Harvard. How exciting. It felt like I could go anywhere at that age and so dreaming of possibilities began. Today is the anniversary of manned flight near near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first ever successful flight of a “self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft.” Orville piloted the biplane, which stayed up for a mere 12 seconds and only traveled 120 feet but oh how the imagination of humans soared that day.
Orville and Wilbur Wright grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and developed an interest in the idea of flight after learning of German glider designs in the 1890s. Orville and Wilbur did not attend college, yet they had amazing technical abilities and were great problem solvers. They built printing presses and opened a bicycle shop. Their successful business experience, combined with the money they earned, allowed them to pursue their dream of building the world’s first airplane. Makes you want to sell your bicycle and buy a plane ticket.
Flight has long been a metaphor for the human spirit – from the Bible to da Vinci it is seen as the reaching out for the impossible dream. I love what da Vinci said, “The human bird shall take his first flight, filling the world with amazement, all writings with his fame, and bringing eternal glory to the nest whence he sprang.” Kitty Hawk has a fame of its own now, doesn’t it. Like a bird we long to reach beyond our limits and we can. God wants to show us we can if we will take off the training wheels of our little bicycles and become flight engineers.