The goal was ambitious. Public interest was high. Experts were
eager to contribute. Money was readily available.
Armed with every ingredient for success, Samuel Pierpont
Langley set out in the early 1900s to be the first man to pilot an
airplane. Highly regarded, he was a senior officer at the Smithsonian Institution, a mathematics professor who had also worked at
Harvard. His friends included some of the most powerful men in
government and business, including Andrew Carnegie and Alexander Graham Bell. Langley was given a $50,000 grant from the War
Department to fund his project, a tremendous amount of money for
the time. He pulled together the best minds of the day, a veritable
dream team of talent and know-how. Langley and his team used the
finest materials, and the press followed him everywhere. People all
over the country were riveted to the story, waiting to read that he
had achieved his goal. With the team he had gathered and ample
resources, his success was guaranteed


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