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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 September, 2003, 21:44 GMT 22:44 UK
Wright replica fails to fly
The Flyer
The Wright brothers original aircraft is on display in Washington
Almost 100 years after the Wright Brothers made the first manned airplane flight, a replica of their aircraft failed to leave the ground - because there was not enough wind.

The original Wright Flyer first flew on 17 December 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

On Saturday, several hundred spectators crowded the lawn of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry to watch a team try to recreate history.

"The Wrights flew into a 25 mile-per-hour (40 kph) wind. I think we could have flown if we had that," said Mike Gillian, pilot of the replica.

But wind speeds in Chicago - where the Wright Redux Association made three attempts to emulate the brothers - reached little more than 5 miles per hour (8 kph).

The small four-cylinder engine, also an exact replica of the original, did not have the power to lift the craft.

The wood and fabric replica is one of a few being built around the US in commemoration the 100th anniversary this year of the inaugural flight.

Pilots face down

The brothers' original aircraft is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

The Wrights' first flight went 120 feet in 12 seconds.

The Chicago team's replica - The Spirit of Glen Ellyn - is made of wood, metal and cotton fabric. Its pilots hoped it would fly about 200 feet on each flight, at a height of six to 10 feet.

Pilots Ken Kirincic and Michael Gillian - like Orville and Wilbur - weigh less than 150 pounds.

They fly as the Wrights did, lying face-down on the bottom wing, with the wind in the pilot's face.

Building the plane took four years and an estimated 5,000 hours donated by hundreds of volunteers.

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