3d History

Wright Brothers - First Flight

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.


The Wright Flyer

Capacity: 1 crew


1 x 12 hp petrol engine driving two pusher propellers

Wingspan: 12 m (40 ft 0 in)


283 kg (625 lb)

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.

In 1903 they finally added a purpose built, lightweight engine to give their Wright Flyer design the potential for sustained flight. The design of the propeller blade was critical to the success of the aircraft; others had been using slow, thick sectioned blades similar to those on a ship. The Wright brothers used good design practice to identify that the most efficient solution was a long thin blade rotating at high speed. On December 17th, 1903, with Orville Wright at the controls, the Wright Flyer made a historic flight of 120 feet in 12 seconds; sparking a revolution in transport that literally changed our view of the world within a few decades.


Some footage from You Tube about the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk.