National Geographic : 2004 Apr
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY "Forthe increase and diffusion of geographicknowledge." The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C ., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Since 1888 the Society has supported more than 7,500 explorations and research projects, adding to knowledge of earth, sea, and sky. JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., Presidentand CEO Executive Vice Presidents TERRENCE B. ADAMSON LINDA BERKELEY, President,Enterprises TERRY D. GARCIA, Mission Programs JOHN Q. GRIFFIN, President,MagazineGroup NINA D. HOFFMAN, President,Books and School PublishingGroup CHRISTOPHER A. LIEDEL, CFO BOARD OF TRUSTEES GILBERT M. GROSVENOR, Chairman REG MURPHY, Vice Chairman JOAN ABRAHAMSON, WILLIAM L. ALLEN, MARTHA E. CHURCH, MICHAEL COLLINS, ROGER A. ENRICO, JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., DANIEL S. GOLDIN, JOHN JAYISELIN, JAMES C. KAUTZ, J. WILLARD MARRIOTT, JR., FLORETTA DUKES McKENZIE, PATRICK F. NOONAN, NATHANIEL P.REED, WILLIAM K. REILLY, ROZANNE L. RIDGWAY, JAMES R. SASSER, B. FRANCIS SAUL II, GERD SCHULTE-HILLEN TRUSTEES EMERITUS Joe L. Allbritton. Thomas E. Bolger, Frank Borman, Lewis M. Branscomb, Robert L. Breeden, Lloyd H. Elliott, George M. Elsey, William Graves, Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, Laurance S. Rockefeller, Robert C. Seamans, Jr.. Frederick G. Vosburgh COUNCIL OF ADVISORS Roger A. Enrico, Chairman; Michael R. Bonsignore, Howard G. Buffett, Craig D. Campbell, Juliet C. Folger, Robert B. Haas, Robert A. Hefner III, Samuel C. Johnson, Bruce L. Ludwig, Sally Engelhard Pingree, W. Russell Ramsey, Catherine B. Reynolds, Edward P. Roski, Jr., Alice Rogoff Rubenstein, B. Francis Saul II, Garry A. Weber RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION COMMITTEE Peter H. Raven, Chairman; John M. Francis, Vice Chair man;William L. Alien, Martha E. Church, Steven M. Colman, Scott V. Edwards, William L. Graf, Nancy Knowlton, Dan M. Martin, Scott E. Miller, Jan Nijman, Stuart L. Pimm, Elsa M. Redmond, Bruce D. Smith, Hans-Dieter Sues. Patricia C. Wright, Melinda A. Zeder EXPLORERS-IN -RESIDENCE Robert Ballard, Wade Davis, Sylvia Earle, Zahi Hawass, Louise Leakey, Meave Leakey, Johan Reinhard, Paul Sereno. Conservation Fellow: J. Michael Fay CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS-IN RESIDENCE Sam Abell, Annie Griffiths Belt, DavidDoubilet. Karen Kasmauski, Emory Kristof. Frans Lanting MISSION PROGRAMS Vice Presidents: Barbara A. Chow, Education Foundation; John M. Francis, Research. Conservation, and Exploration; Jacqueline M. Hollister, Development; Sarah Laskin, Public Programs. Exhibits: Susan S. Norton. Expeditions Council: Rebecca Martin. Geography Bee: Mary Lee Elden. Lectures: P. Andrew van Duym, Gregory A. McGruder School Publishing: Ericka Markman. Sr. Vice President. International: Robert W. HernBndez, Sr. Vice President. Human Resources: Thomas A. Sabl6, Sr. Vice President. Communications: Betty Hudson, Sr. Vice President. Treasurer: H. Gregory Platts. Sr. Vice President NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VENTURES DENNIS R. PATRICK, Presidentand CEO Television: Timothy T. Kelly, President. National Geographic Channel: David Haslingden, President. International: Laureen Ong, President, U.S . natlonalgeographic.com: Chris McAndrews, Senior Vice Presidentand General Manager Contributions to the National Geographic Society are tax deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. tax code. Copyright 0 2004 National Geographic Society. Allrights reserved. National Geographic and Yellow Border: Registered Trademarks ® Marcas Registradas. National Geographic assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Printed in U.S .A. Forum The Future of Flying The December issue celebrates the centennial of flight, the start ing point of which, according to you, was the first attempts of the Wright brothers. As a French reader, I wonder why you didn't publish a similar issue 14 years ago, the centennial of French inventor Clement Ader's 1890 flight in a flying machine called the Eole. JEAN-PAUL GRATIAS Paris,France We received mail from supporters ofAder, Brazil's Alberto Santos Dumont, Romania's Trajan Vuia, and other innovators believed by some to haveflown the first true airplane.We stand with the vast majority of world aviation experts, who agree that the Wright brothers were the first to fly in a powered, heavier-than-air machine that achieved controlled, FOR MORE INFORMATION Toget NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC please call 1-800-NGS-LINE (1-800 -647-5463). Hearing-impaired TDD users may call 1-800 -548-9797. The magazine's website: nationalgeo graphic.com/magazine For an online index of all National Geographic publications, go to: nationalgeographic.com/publications sustainedflight with a pilot aboard. The Wright Flyerflewfor ward without losing speed and landed at a point as high as that from which it started. Ader's 160 foot hop on the Eole was an im portant demonstration:It proved that a heavier-than-air,manned plane could take off under its own power. But the controlled and sus tainedflight of the Wrights distin guished them from other aviation pioneers. Surely the second 100 years of aeronautical progress will rival the first in technological devel opment. Yet after factoring in gridlocked airport traffic, distant parking, lengthy check-in proce dures, slow-moving security lines, departure and arrival delays, and interminable baggage claim at the end of the trip, a two-hour flight will still translate to a full-day's journey-all the gee-whiz flight technology not withstanding. But hopefully the little pretzel packet of the future will be tastier. ROBERT SOLOMON Brooklyn, New York In your article on the future of flying, you quote a test pilot tell ing an old joke about a pilot and a dog ("The pilot's job is to feed NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * APRIL 2004 December 2003 Ourcoverage honoring a hundredyears of flight generatedthe most mail. Some readerswondered why we dated the centennial to the Wright brothers,since other innovators have competing claims. Many readersexpressed disappointment that theirfavorite airplanesweren't included on the supplement's illustrationof the most influential aircraftin history. Turn the page to learn which we would have added if we'd had more space. Pretend for a moment your desire isasmall pot of utch with two sugars and aSOOLn.