Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Flight Brothers

Did you know the Frisbee was invented by a pilot?

On this day in 1903, the Wright Brothers took flight for 12 seconds, becoming the "first human aviators to make a controlled and sustained flight in a power-driven, heavier-than-air craft."

Thirty-four years later, Walter "Fred" Morrison got the inspiration for the human-propelled flying toy that would become the Frisbee at a family picnic by tossing the lid of a large popcorn tin. Fred later served in the Air Force as a bomber pilot in Europe during World War II.

Returning from WWII, Fred applied his new found aerodynamics knowledge to good use when he sketched a design for a new flying disc that was much more aerodynamically efficient (e.g., rim's rounded profile and plastic material) than the tin lid.
From Whirlo-Way design "Also, the leading edge of the devise
simulates the leading edge of an aero-plane wing.
Morrison called his flying disc product "Whirlo-Way," then updated it to "Flyin-Saucers," and eventually "Pluto Platter" which was sold to Wham-O, who renamed it "Frisbee."

So, Wilbur and Orville Wright did *NOT* invent the Frisbee. Though, the design of the flying disc was very likely influenced by the Wright Brothers because (the Frisbee inventor) Fred Morrison  - who was a pilot - likely would not have learned about aerodynamics without an aircraft contraption to pilot.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Wright Brothers helped the eventual invention of the Frisbee!

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