Alabama
1:20 pm
Sat November 15, 2003

Replica of Wright brothers' plane in Birmingham exhibit

Birmingham, AL – A Georgia couple's replica of the historic Wright brothers' flying machine remains on display through Nov. 30 at the Southern Museum of Flight.
One hundred years ago next month, the flight by Wilber and Orville Wright rose about 10 feet off the sand dunes at Kitty Hawk, N.C., and traveled 120 feet in 12 seconds.
Aviation enthusiast John Reynolds, a home improvement contractor from Carnesville, Ga., and his wife, Carol, took about four years to build their replica, following a set of drawings from the Smithsonian Institution.
"I don't even try to figure how much money I have in it," Reynolds said Friday, reassembling it for the museum exhibit in Birmingham.
The twin 40-foot-long wings of ash and spruce and covered in white pima cotton are held in place with a spiderweb of thin cables.
Reynolds has started its 18-horsepower motor on several occasions and taxied it until it was almost ready to lift off. But he has no plans to fly it until the Wright centennial.
He'll attempt that at a small airport near his hometown, he said.
"I don't want to fly it any higher than I'm prepared to fall," he said.
The museum has a short documentary film about the history of Alabama aviation, highlighting the flying school that the Wright brothers operated in Montgomery for a few months in 1910 on a former cotton plantation.
Next Saturday, two members of the Civil Air Patrol will dress up as Wright brothers to answer visitors' questions at the museum.
If you go: The museum at 4343 73rd St. No. is open 9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1-4:30 p.m. on Sun day. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and children. Children 4 and younger are admitted free.