Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Wright replica

Flying has always caught the imagination of mankind and all countries have myths and legends related to flying man, flying birds or flying machines.
In India, the idea of a flying machine can be dated to the period of the Ramayana when Ravana carried off Seetha on his Vimana.
However, the first modern flying machine was invented by the Wright brothers who flew it for the first time on December 17, 1903. In reality, they flew four times and not once as is commonly believed.
In India, we have seen only photographs and reproductions of the Wright plane. The original plane is called Wright flyer and it is housed in the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) of Smithsonian Institution, which also holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world in 161,145 square feet (14,970.9 m2) of exhibition floor space.
Interestingly, the institute tried to fly the Wright Flyer on the occasion of the centenary of flying but the plane failed to take off. Bangaloreans are fortunate that the city has as almost exact replica of the Wright flyer and it has been put on public display.
This replica is a prized exhibit of the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM),which is located on Kasturba Road and close to the Cubbon Park.   
The replica was the result of a painstaking effort by a team from the VITM and National Aeronautics Limited (NAL). The collaboration took over six months to create the replica. Each part is almost as close to the original as it could possibly be.
The builders used teak and silver oak and almost all parts were hand made. What can make Bangaloreans more proud is that the parts were sourced locally.  
 The replica has a motor which moves the propellers. However, VITM says if an aircraft engine is installed, the replica could fly too. The full scale replica was fabricated based on the drawings prepared by the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution.
Though London has a similar replica, the Bangalore model is the only 1:1 replica of the Wright Flyer in this part of the world.
VITM is easy to visit. Buses halt a few metres away from the museum. Auto too are available. Check in the Government Museum, Venkatappa Art Gallery and Aquarium, which are all nearby. Of course, do not forget a stroll in the Cubbon Park and take a walk on MG Road.
The museum is opened on all days from 10 a.m., to 6 p.m., except Dassara and Ganesh Chaturthi. A serious visitor should be prepared to spend at least 3 hours in the Museum to have a glimpse of this treasure house of knowledge in the heart of Bangalore   


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