The origins of flight, and the inventors of the airplane, are the focus of the ongoing Iola Reads project.
“The Wright Brothers” by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough, is the Winter 2018 Iola Reads focus.
McCullough’s book details how Orville and Wilbur Wright combined their individual talents — Wilbur was unquestionably a genius; Orville a whiz at mechanical engineering — to make history in December 1903 in the Outer Banks of North Carolina by creating a powered flying machine.
“The Wright Brothers” also explains how it took the world some time to believe the age of flight had begun.
Of note: the siblings had no more than a high school education and little money.
McCullough also profiles their sister, Katherine, without whom things might have gone differently. It also explores the influence of Octave Chanute, a French engineer who offered guidance to the Wrights. (As you might have guessed, Iola’s neighboring community to the south was named after the same Gustav Chanute.)
THE IOLA Reads campaign culminates from 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday with an aeronautics fair at Iola’s Riverside Park,
With assistance from Wichita’s Exploration Place, 12 hands-on aviation exhibits will be set up inside the Recreation Community Building, including assembling an aircraft, inflight energy; knowing your nose gear, vertical takeoff and landing, wing work and plain marshaling.
Other activities and exhibits include paper airplane making.
Air Force veterans David and Walt Regehr will tell about their experiences, aircraft they worked with and their flight suits.
Weather permitting, Steve Strickler will show off his powered parachute.
A 1929 film depicting early flyers Ross Arbuckle, BF Churchill and Fritz Womack passing over Iola in 1914 also will be shown.
ORGANIZERS also are in need of about a dozen volunteers to help man the stations during the final two-hour sessions, from 3 to 5 and from 5 to 7.
Those wishing to volunteer must arrive 30 minutes prior to their shift begins, explains Iola Public Library Executive Director Roger Carswell, for orientation.
To volunteer, call Carswell at 365-3262.
Chili and hot dogs will be for sale from 4:30 to 7 o’clock to help organizers recoup costs of putting the exhibit together.
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