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   Vol. 17 No. 86
Monday December 17, 2018

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The Wright Flyer

Orville and Wilbur WrightToday, December 17, 2018 marks 115 years since the Wright brothers flew their epoch first flight.
     But does anybody know who piloted the first air cargo shipment?
     The idea that an airplane might carry cargo was initially sparked seven years later in 1910, when a Columbus, Ohio merchant by the name of Max Morehouse recognized the public interest in “flying machines.” He struck a deal with the brothers, Orville (left) and Wilbur Wright (right) to transport 200 pounds of silk from Dayton, Ohio USA to his dry goods store in Columbus, Ohio.

Money On The Line

     The Wright brothers, also recognizing the value of their invention, charged Morehouse $5,000 to deliver the cloth.
     Today’s equivalent value of the air cargo charge would exceed $120,000. Morehouse, more than recovered his money for the flight. He did it by selling small pieces of the legendary silk attached to a postcard, celebrating the world’s first cargo delivered by airplane.

Phil & Up

Phil Parmelee     A young man named Phil Parmelee (left) piloted the Wright B. Flyer on November 7, 1910.
     He made the historic, 62-mile flight in 62 minutes, flying from Dayton to Columbus, his speedy arrival exceeding the expectations of all those who waited for him. As a result, only about 1,000 people saw him land.
     Shortly thereafter, as word spread, the crowd grew to around 4,000.
     Those 200 pounds of silk cloth, traveling less than 100 miles, launched an industry that spans the globe, moving millions of tons of air freight each year.

First Flight Remembered

     For the record Mitch Cary, President of Wright B. Flyer Inc., piloted a replica Wright B. Flyer in 2010 retracing that epic first air cargo journey.
     “We celebrated the significant accomplishments of the world’s first air cargo pilot Phil Parmelee, in addition to the start of the air cargo business.
     “Phil Parmelee flew this historic flight with little experience and training, having flown for the first time just two months prior to making the flight,” explained Cary.
     “He was responsible for a number of firsts and endurance flights in those early days of aviation.
     And unlike our planned flight, where we had two pilots to share flying duties, Phil flew his flight alone.”

Recalling Uncle’s Rising

     A descendant of the Wright brothers, Amanda Wright Lane recalls that historic remembrance.
     “The flight was just one part of Uncles Orv and Wilbur’s effort to promote aviation,” she recalled.
     “While they recognized their airplane might not be able to carry heavy loads, they knew the speed of flying was important in delivering certain types of cargo.”
     Parmelee family members Philip McKeatchie and his sister Lecia Lamphere have preserved the story of their great uncle’s famous flight.
     “Uncle Phil was told by Orville Wright, as he tacked a map to the wing strut just prior to take-off, ‘watch the map and do your best.
     “In spite of cold temperatures and flying solo, he did his best, and made history with what was not just the first air cargo flight, but also the first commercial flight in the world of aviation,” Lecia said.

The Wright Stuff

     Orville Wright lived from 1871 until 1948 and his brother, Wilbur Wright lived from 1867 to 1912.
     The brothers, it should be said were without question the world’s first successful airplane engineers.
     The first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina was on December 17th, 1903.
     Even though there had been a number of airplanes in the world that had gone aloft in powered flight before the Wright Brothers, none of them were controllable.
     So the Wright Brothers rightfully take credit for the first controllable, powered, heavier than air flight.
     The reason they got the credit, and 115 years later the world celebrates their success, is because the Wright Brothers kept complete written and photographic records of everything that they did.
     Also the Wright Brothers documentation is arranged in a manner that is easy to read and understand.
     For example, the Wright’s left us exact specs so that almost anyone handy with tools can build their own DIY airplane and fly it!
     In an age of instant everything, including living in doubt, that simple truth is good to know.

Wright & Paul Garber

Paul Garber     The late Paul Garber (right) who found the National Air & Space Museum told me how NASM got started.
     “Orville was a friend,” Mr. Garber recalled.
     “We both agreed that the first airplane, the exact one that flew above Kitty Hawk should be donated to the Smithsonian.
     “So we arranged for the donation, and placed the aircraft in the original Smithsonian Building in Washington.
     “For years it hung above a display of aircraft models.”
     What happened next is pure fact. Smithsonian realized that more than 3 million people a year were visiting a rather smallish display, that included the Wright Flyer & Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis”. Both aircraft hung above a display case of aircraft models.
     Today, both the aforementioned and dozens of other historic aircraft reside at NASM and an affiliate Paul Garber Facility at Dulles Airport in Virginia.
     The aircraft model display case, last time we checked, is now situate at the entrance to the NASM research library upstairs at the main downtown facility.

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What A Year 2018
For air cargo as the year 2018 heads toward sundown and the new year of 2019, looking at results this turn, what a difference a year makes.

     After the super strong peak season of 2017, perhaps 2018 was always going to be a case of “After the Lord Mayor’s show. But it’s not exactly as if the wheels have come off the donkey cart this year.
     Late November and early December demand was healthy and most macro-economic indicators are performing strongly given the looming threat of protectionist feeling and the policies such as populism are sprouting. Cross-border global e-commerce also continues to flourish. Things just look a little less shiny than they did a year earlier.

The View From The Bridge

Brandon Fried     “Last year's air cargo volumes were exceptionally high but there has been somewhat of a stall in 2018 on air cargo coming from China,” said Brandon Fried, Executive Director at The Airforwarders Association based in the U.S. “Of course, there are volumes driven by the business as usual of pre-holiday rush deliveries combined with shippers trying to avoid the possible January 1 tariff increase, but overall, we are seeing a plateau from China. The remainder of Asia for air cargo coming to the U.S. is strong.”
Paul Tsui     Over in Hong Kong, Paul Tsui, managing director of forwarding and logistics operator Janel Group, was similarly nonplussed about the current state of play. He told Flying Typers the peak season thus far for U.S. traffic had been “on and off with some periodical peaks but only for a few days, and pretty much the same for Europe and Asia”. He was hopeful of a pick up after the New Year but only for a “few days and to particular destinations”.
     The numbers fit a similar narrative. FIS reported marginal gains on its China-Europe basket but pricing on the Hong Kong-U.S. lane was down over 5% in the week to 10 December while the analyst’s ‘China-Europe forward Curve’ predicted a long descent in rates through the first quarter of 2019.

Freightos Cargo By Weightos

Manel Galindo      Manel Galindo, CEO of Freightos WebCargo, said Europe’s role in air freight supply demand this year had been far less significant than a year ago. “Last year, for the first time in ten years, Europe hit capacity from October through December, and many shippers faced paying sky-high prices to get their shipment in on time,” he said. “So this year, many of them got their stock in early. That played out on the Freightos Marketplace, where there were 4.5% less air freight searches in November than in October.
     “In effect, peak season has been more diffuse this year. That’s why air freight prices have been sluggish recently. Between the first week of November and today, only China-Europe rates have significantly increased - 30% from U.S. $2.80/kg to $3.28. Europe-U.S. rates have barely moved, from $1.50 to $1.55. The same goes for China-U.S. - from $4.42 on November 5 they are now just $4.47.”

December Capacity Eases

     In the first week of December, Flexport reported hardly a single origin market in Asia with any capacity tightness issues, with rates stable across the board and no backlogs. Similarly, there were no major space issues ex-Europe or ex-U.S. apart from on the minor Italy to U.S. East Coast lane where capacity was tight.
     October is the most recent month for which we have accurate volume and yield data and, for many in the industry, things remained relatively rosy entering Q4. WorldACD reported that in October the worldwide air cargo yield moved up to $1.99, 7% higher than in October 2017, and 3 cents higher than in September 2018. Measured in Euros, the worldwide yield increased by 10% year-over-year.
      “These changes occurred against the backdrop of a 2% volume increase year-over-year, a load factor decrease of 1.3 percentage points year-over-year and a load factor increase of 2.8 percentage points month over month,” it added.

Chuckles For December 12, 2014

Wright Stuff For Children
     There are plenty of inexpensive wonderful books and items for children that deal with the Wright Brothers. In time for Christmas are a few suggestions for the wee ones in air cargo.
     There is also a great website for all this stuff @www.yellowairplane.com. (also neat aircraft models and other transportation items).

Pioneers of American AviationThe Wright Brothers:
Pioneers of American Aviation
By Quentin Reynolds

   We love this book; in fact think adults should read it too.
   One of the best-selling children's book series ever published.
   This one is a must-to-have because it is bright and lively, and fun to read.
   The dream of Wilbur and Orville Wright, two self-taught bicycle mechanics, was cared for and nurtured along the way by people who went to work everyday and loved their kids and helped them get to where they wanted to be.
   When you think about it, that’s something we all have in common right now.
  Read this one with your kids. Buy here.

Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane
by Russell Freedman

   This is a clear, understandable and readable account of how the Wright Brothers invented the airplane. Even the technical stuff is explained in language that is not hard to understand.
   The events are illustrated with lots of photographs, many of which were taken by Orville and Wilbur Wright.
   When you realize that just maybe the airplane is the first invention to be fully documented by photographs, you are drawn into the brothers’ single-minded passion for achieving powered flight, for tinkering and experimenting until they could solve the problems that had eluded other scientist for years. There are many humanizing details (the firemen who were on “standby” and the cows and horses who had to be shooed from the “runway”) and excerpts from contemporary accounts make it fun to read. For instance, in 1904, Amos Root who ran a beekeeper’s supply shop, drove nearly 200 miles and saw the first circling flight ever made. He wrote his own account of the event that begins the book.
   Here are a few sentences:
   “The machine is held until ready to start by a sort of trap to be sprung when all is ready; then with a tremendous flapping and snapping of the four cylinder engine, the huge machine springs aloft. When it first turned that circle and came near the starting point, I was right in front of it; I said then and I still believe, it was…the grandest sight of my life!”
   Buy here.

Wright Flyer Kite Flying Model Airplane

   This one actually flies.
   A scale model of the original Wright Flyer, it has a five-foot wingspan and flies well as either a glider or a kite. (www.yellowairplane.com


Taking FlightTaking Flight: The Story of the Wright Brothers
by Stephen Krensky, Larry Day (Illustrator)

   The story of the Wright brothers is familiar to many adults, but this adult does a great job of telling the story to young readers.
   The watercolor illustrations work to expand the text and they let readers have a glimpse at the machine shops and tough conditions that the Wright brothers faced at Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills.
   This edition is part of the "Ready-To-Read" series. Buy here.

The Wright Brothers:
The Birth of Modern Aviation
by Anna Sproule

   Developed for grades 5 through 8, here is a clear and concise account of the lives and times of Orville and Wilber Wright with the story of their family life, education and their first experiments with engineering in their bicycle repair shop.
   Also included are illustrations of their workshop and descriptions of their most famous experiments and flight trials at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
   The difficulty the brothers encountered as they tried to develop and market the first aircraft to a skeptical U.S. government and other important facts along the way emerge in an excellent collection here of original quotes from the Wrights themselves.
   A summary of important dates, a bibliography and a glossary are also included.
   Buy here.

Peanuts Kitty Hawk video The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk
A Peanuts Cartoon Video

   This video, a miniature history lesson of flight takes off with the legend of Icarus and lands as the Wright Brothers are born in the late 19th century.
   Charlie Brown (our hero) and Linus (friend) are invited to visit Linus' cousin Dolly in North Carolina.
   Together, they witness the Wright Brothers' first flight. Snoopy (Charlie’s dog) serves as the cheer leader to the first flight.
Charlie gets into the act attempting to fly the Wright Brothers' kite and it flies him instead.
The counterpoint and pad under all the action is the smooth cool-summer sound of the great Wynton Marsalis, who now heads up New York City Jazz at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
   Something for everybody here.


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