Photos for August 16-17, 2003, Chicago Air & Water Show

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The city of Chicago invited the Wright Redux Association, Packer Wings and the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry to exhibit the "Spirit of Glen Ellyn" at the 45th annual Chicago Air & Water Show. The following group of images shows a glimpse of the three days from preparation through conclusion.

But the first photos show off the amazing 1903 Wright Replica Engine that John Nowicki assembled from many parts that were fabricated and donated from dozens of individuals and companies. See the list by clicking here.

  1. Notice the engine exhaust ports are right next to the pilot's position.

  2. The engine weighs more than the pilot. As a result, the Wrights added four more inches to the wing on the engine side of the Flyer to compensate for the difference. Total wing length is 40 feet 4 inches.

  3. Between the engine, flywheel, chain drive and eight foot propellers, many potential hazards nearly surround the pilot.

  4. John Nowicki works on the replica engine in the early stages of assembly.

  5. Thursday August 14th the crew removes the canard and mounts it onto a trailer for transport to the Chicago lakefront on Friday.

  6. The Flyer is stripped of its canard and tail in preparation for placement in the van.

  7. With the Flyer in the van, it's nearly ready to go.

  8. Packing materials are carefully placed to cushion the ride.

  9. At our Friday morning arrival it was already 82 degrees and very humid. As I shot this photo I thought of that very cold December morning Wilbur and Orville first placed their Flyer in the sand surrounded by frozen puddles from an earlier rain.

  10. Our exhibition tent is the largest on the beach.

  11. The crew anxiously awaits the van's arrival hoping the Flyer is not bruised.

  12. Within minutes the van arrives with the Flyer intact. The thirty-mile trip from Glen Ellyn was made at this early hour to avoid most of the city traffic and to give us time to set up the exhibit. You may notice the wooden assemblies behind the van. We slip those under the wings to pick up the Flyer and carry her from place to place. We often wonder how the Wrights and their crew carried the original Flyer between flights.

  13. The canard arrives in its trailer and is gingerly carried into the tent.

  14. The Flyer is positioned in the tent for maximum viewing. The carriers are still in place under the wings.

  15. The crew brings in the canard and begins reassembly.

  16. With the tail reassembled we placed a sheet over the engine to prevent contamination from blowing sand.

  17. Once the canard and tail are securely reattached two sections of rail and the launch dolly are put in place to complete the exhibit.

  18. The Flyer looks grand in her temporary hangar.

  19. Viewing the props I marvel at how the Wrights unlocked the secret to propeller design. Many of today's props use a very similar shape.

  20. Banners hung around the tent telling visitors what they were about to see.

  21. With the exhibit just about ready, our first visitor arrived.

  22. The Packer Wings, a non-profit organization, placed their display nearby to tell visitors of their mission.

  23. Within hours the previously deserted beach was teeming with spectators.

  24. The crowds watched in awe as pilots flew their modern aircraft in wild aerobatic maneuvers. Did the crowd realize that just behind them stood a replica of the Flyer that launched man's first powered flight just 100 years ago?

  25. The exhibit drew the curious with questions about the Wright brothers, how they flew their plane, and when the "Spirit of Glen Ellyn" would fly next. All our crewmembers were happy to answer each and every question.

  26. On Sunday, after the Air Force Thunderbirds completed their amazing show, we were honored to receive a visit from Staff Sergeant Brian Bahret, Public Affairs Officer for the Thunderbirds. Sgt. Bahret was kind enough to pose in front of the Flyer for this photo and answer our many questions.

  27. The Wright Redux Association and Packer Wings crews take a moment to say thanks to the Village of Glen Ellyn, the City of Chicago and everyone who came to visit our 1903 Wright Flyer Replica. Thanks everyone!
More to come.