Wilbur Wright-crop

Wilbur in 1905

Orville Wright-1928

Orville in 1928

Wilbur, 1867-1912

Orville, 1871-1948

1903- first powered flight. 1905 – ½ hour flight, 24 miles (“Scientific American” suggested the flight was a hoax!), 1908 – fly for an hour, 1909 – first flight across the English channel, 1927 – Lindbergh flies solo across the Atlantic. Airplanes are now replacing the ships and trains as the long-distance means of communication. Wright brothers “were quite in the tradition of the American inventive tinkerers who make instinct, intuition and endless intelligent effort replace theory – after the fashion of the greatest noneducated intuitive genius of them all, Edison”.

Development of airplane: kite -> glider -> airplane


a replica of the Wright brothers 1899 box kite


Glider of brothers Wright, 1900


Wilbur Wright piloting 1902 glider near Kitty Hawk, N.C.


The Wright flyer, 1903

In 1903 the brothers built the powered Wright Flyer I, using their preferred material for construction, spruce,[49] a strong and lightweight wood, and Pride of the West muslin for surface coverings. They also designed and carved their own wooden propellers, and had a purpose-built gasoline engine fabricated in their bicycle shop. First flight of the Wright Flyer I was on December 17, 1903

The Flyer cost less than a thousand dollars, in contrast to more than $50,000 in government funds given to Samuel Langley for his man-carrying Great Aerodrome.[54] The Flyer had a wingspan of 40.3 ft (12.3 m), weighed 605 lb (274 kg)[55] and sported a 12 horsepower (8.9 kW) 180 lb (82 kg) engine. (It’s obvious that a modern electrical motor can develop more than that)

On September 17, 1908 Army lieutenant Thomas Selfridge rode along as his passenger, serving as an official observer. A few minutes into the flight at an altitude of about 100 feet (30 m), a propeller split and shattered, sending the aircraft out of control. Selfridge suffered a fractured skull in the crash and died that evening in the nearby Army hospital, becoming the first airplane crash fatality.

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