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Robert Ash, interim vice president for research at Old Dominion University, is featured extensively in the Discovery Channel's "Return to Kitty Hawk: 100 Years of Flight" documentary, which airs 11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 21 on the cable network.

The program, which chronicles the work of the Wright Experience's journey to recreate the famous brothers' 1903 Flyer, features several interviews with Ash, who helped test the replica as well as replicas of the Wrights' gliders and wooden propellers. The program also features extensive footage of the College of Engineering and Technology's Langley Full-Scale Wind Tunnel, where all the replicas were tested over the past four years.

Ken Hyde, founder of the Wright Experience in Warrenton, Va., has passionately worked for years to uncover the secrets of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the two Ohio bicycle maker brothers credited with making the first successful flight. Hyde and his team have painstakingly recreated propellers, gliders and aircraft in an attempt to figure out just how the Wright brothers flew for 12 seconds in 27 mile an hour winds over the sand dunes of North Carolina's Outer Banks on Dec.17, 1903.

Hyde turned to Old Dominion University to better understand the engineering science behind the Wrights' efforts. He started by bringing wooden propellers, hand crafted to Wright specifications, to the wind tunnel, which is owned by NASA Langley and operated by Old Dominion. Then he progressed to authentic reproductions of two Wright gliders and then, earlier this year, the Wright Flyer. All were tested by Old Dominion engineering professors and students, including Ash and engineering professors Colin Britcher and Drew Landman.

The program can be seen locally on Cox Cable channel 31.

This article was posted on: December 18, 2003

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