Utah State Wright Replica Flies Again

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- A replica of the Wright Brothers' early airplane took off despite mechanical and weather problems.

Former U.S. Sen. Jake Garn flew the aircraft for about 90 seconds over the Ogden Airport runway Saturday before a large crowd that had endured rain that hit the area.

Garn, a former astronaut who also flew the space shuttle, explained how the Wright Flyer is more difficult to fly than his own 1947 Navion, which he flew to Ogden on Saturday.

"This one does not fly itself," Garn said.

The 1,200-pound plane was built by Utah State University students and their professors. It highlighted a celebration of 100 years of flight also included flour-bomb drops, sky divers and radio-controlled model airplanes.

Prior to the short flight, crowds gathered around the flyer, which was the most popular attraction of the day.

"They see these other planes all the time," said USU College of Engineering professor David Widauf.

The replica Wright Flyer will fly again this week when it is flown from Ogden-Hinckley Airport to Hill Air Force Base, where it will be displayed.

Garn's flight was delayed about 31/2 hours as a part was replaced on the Wright replica. As the repairs took place, a handful of area private pilots tried to drop a 1-pound bag of flour into a barrel from 100 feet in the air. Many pilots came close to the target, but no pilot was successful as the wind seem to blow just hard enough to push the flour bags off target.

Spectators endured the rain and crisp temperatures at the event.

"It"s a little chilly. But quite interesting," said Clearfield resident Ann Zandel.

Zandel said she was attending the festivities with her family because of her 8-year-old grandson Garrett Cleven's love for airplanes.

"Anything to do with airplanes, he just loves," she said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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