The First Electronic Church of America

S A I N T S   &   B I R T H D A Y   P A G E

April 16, 1997

Saint Of The Day:

Wilbur Wright

This is the 130th anniversary of the birth of Wilbur Wright, the American aviation pioneer who, with his brother, Orville, made the first, historic, powered airplane flights on the sand dunes near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903. Wilbur Wright was born in Millville, Ind., on April 16, 1867. As a boy, he and his younger brother Orville made simple mechanical toys, and in 1888 they built a large printing press. The following year they began to publish the Dayton, Ohio, West Side News, edited by Wilbur. Already successful printers, the brothers opened a bicycle repair shop and showroom in 1892, and three years later they began assembling bicycles with tools of their own invention. The Wrights were admirers of the writings and feats of the German engineer Otto Lilienthal, the American engineer Octave Chanute (1832-1910), and other glider experimenters. In September 1900 at Kill Devil Hills, near Kitty Hawk, N.C., they tested their own glider. Carefully recording their findings, they concluded that the previously accepted aeronautical data on which they had relied were erroneous. In 1901 the brothers tested the effects of air pressure on more than 200 wing surfaces and in 1902, executing almost 1000 glides in a new glider, they confirmed their Kitty Hawk data. At Kitty Hawk the Wrights also proved to their satisfaction that planes could be balanced best by pilots, rather than by built-in engineering devices; this was the major idea covered by the first Wright patent. In 1903 the brothers constructed their first propeller, from original calculations; it was about 35 percent more effective than other propellers then available. They next built a 750-lb machine with a 12-hp motor, and that was the plane that took first Orville and then Wilbur on the first powered airplane flights in history. Orville's flight took 12 seconds. The public seemed fairly indifferent to that feat, but the brothers went ahead anyway, dedicating themselves to the development of better engines and planes. The site of the first flight, now the Wright Brothers National Memorial, is administered by the National Park Service. In 1908 Wilbur Wright set distance and altitude records in France. That same year the Wrights fulfilled a contract with the U.S. Army Signal Corps to produce a plane that could fly for 10 minutes at a speed of 40 mph. They then toured Europe, where they were highly honored. Upon their return to the U.S. in 1909 they received further honors. Wilbur became president of the newly incorporated American Wright Co. He died in Dayton three years later, on May 30, 1912, of typhoid fever.

MODEL: The Wright brothers' dogged enthusiasm. Sure, they were breaking new ground, perhaps the most important new ground in the history of transportation. For that very reason, it wasn't easy. But, for that very reason, it was also very exciting. Undoubtedly, that's what kept them going, the thought that they would be the first men to fly.

Your Birthday Today:

April 16
Day of the Comic

Funny, Accepting, Giving

Disconnected, Overinvolved, Lenient

Comedy = Tragedy + Time. If you were born on April 16, laughter and making others laugh is second nature to you. Like most comics, you know that comedy is basically tragedy seen with the wisdom of time. This helps you better understand human nature and cope with your own setbacks. Laughter helps you get through painful circumstances and not take yourself to seriously. Ruled by the number 7 and the planet Neptune, you have a tendency to space out.

Wise and foolish. You can be understanding, forgiving and generous to a fault, allowing people to take advantage of you. When it comes to details, you are usually a stickler, but in some areas, like finances, you can make big blunders.

Make it happen. You are very empathetic to the dreams and hopes of those around you. But you often seem disconnected from this planet. Your own dreams, however, are not just idle fantasy. You have an amazing talent for turning them into reality everyone can enjoy.

Reality. You are loyal to friends and family. But if asked to choose between your dreams and your mate or friend, you'll choose to pursue your vision. It's as if you are tapping into some higher power that no one else can share, a secret voice that guides you through the meaning of life. Some April 16 people actually lose touch with reality listening to these voices.

Some advice: Don't let others take advantage of your easy-going nature. Remember your friends and family, and try not to slip off in your world.

Also born on this day: Peter Ustinov (actor, writer) Charlie Chaplin (comic film actor) Wilbur Wright (co-inventor of airplane) Henry Mancini (composer, arranger, conductor) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (basketball star) Anatole France (French writer) Merce Cunningham (dancer, choreographer) Spike Milligan (British comic writer) Evelyn Ashford (US olympic sprinter) Ellen Barkin (actress) Herbie Mann (jazz flutist)