By Arka Dhar, Zinier
This article was originally posted on the Forbes Technology Council. Click here to read the original article.
On a crisp winter morning in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Wilbur and Orville Wright made history when they achieved the first powered flight. With Orville behind the stick, the plane traveled nearly 120 feet on its inaugural flight.
Those 12 seconds represent a watershed moment in aviation, but they were the culmination of nearly three years of trial and refinement. Between 1900 and 1902, the brothers tested hundreds of different wing shapes and airfoils. When early models failed to produce the expected amount of lift, they tried changing the wing size. When that failed to solve the problem, they built a wind tunnel to measure their own values for lift and drag.
Every failed launch and hard landing was part of a feedback loop that took performance data and folded it back into a constantly evolving design.
It’s an approach businesses still use today — only the soft, sandy beaches of Kitty Hawk have been replaced by a new kind of sandbox — computer modeling systems that enable rapid testing and iteration. These systems allow people to test the effectiveness of multiple designs before moving to production, lowering costs and providing a more comprehensive perspective.