The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers first flight using the Wright Flyer was at Kitty Hawk Sands in 1903

Orville and Wilbur Wright were two American brothers that developed a way to control the flight of a heavier than air, fixed wing aircraft. There had been others before them that had designed and built aircraft that successfully flew, but the Wright brothers took it one stage further and produced an aircraft with controls that allowed the pilot to change the direction of an aircraft in flight.

Their background in printing and bicycle manufacture, coupled with a keen interest in aviation, gave them enough experience and vision to be able to design and build their own aircraft. Wind tunnel experiments allowed them to devise and develop their designs before producing full scale working machines. They focused on the principles of control believing that this was the key to unlocking the potential of safe manned flight.

In 1900 Orville and Wilbur started conducting tests with gliders at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The beaches at Kitty Hawk were an ideal location: remote, private, with regular winds and providing a soft landing in the sands should things go wrong. During 1902 the Wright brothers perfected their 3 axis control theory and applied it to their gliders: wing warping for roll/lateral movement, elevators for pitch/vertical movement and a rudder for yaw/sideways movement.

1 crew
1 x 12 hp petrol engine driving two pusher propellers
12 m (40 ft 0 in)
283 kg (625 lb)