115 years ago Monday, two men achieved what no other humans in history had done before.
Without Federal funding, one notes.
As a matter of fact, the Feds weren’t the only people decidedly skeptical about the potential of this new technology:
We do not query the interest or excellence of the Wrights’ mechanical achievement. There is no reason apparently why they should not vastly better any recorded performance—fly thousands of feet high, or hundreds of miles in distance. Our skepticism is only as to the utilitarian value of any present or possible achievement of the aeroplane. We do not believe it will ever be a commercial vehicle at all. We do not believe it will find any very large place in the world of sport. We do not believe its military importance is as great as is commonly supposed, or will extend (except accidentally) beyond the range of scouting and courier service. Even here it remains wholly indeterminate how much (except mutual destruction) can actually be accomplished by men in flying-machines, if other men in other flying-machines are trying to prevent the accomplishment. And even the attempt must always be limited by the absolute dependence of aerial navigation upon weather conditions which in most places and in average seasons exist during only a minor fraction of the time.
Well, The Engineering Magazine was right about sport uses of airplanes. Once the FAA put an end to barnstorming, it was all downhill from there.