Aviation - History of Aviation


In 1903, brothers Wilber and Orville Wright became the first to build an airplane capable of flight. On December 17th, 1903, Oliver took flight for 12 seconds in their airplane near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. After several more attempts that day, Wilber took flight for almost one minute. This flight proved that heavier-than-air flight was possible, something nobody else had been able to achieve prior to the Wright brother's first successful flight that day.

The Wright brother's success was the result of addressing three major flight barriers including: powering the airplane while in the air, gaining enough lift from the wings, and maintaining balance and control of the airplane while in flight. In 1908, after perfecting their design, the Wright brothers made their first public flight, changing the course of aviation forever.

  • The Wright brothers studied unpowered gliders to help them gain an understanding of flight. This led them to design their own glider and fly it in a wind tunnel in 1902.
  • The invention of the internal combustion engine for automobiles inspired and helped the Wright brothers design the power system for their airplane. It led to their design of the 12.5 horsepower motor that they used for their airplane.
  • The Wright brothers' design gave the pilot all control of the airplane through the use of a rudder for steering, and an 'elevator' to control pitch.
  • The Wright brothers pioneered 'wind-warping', which enabled the wings to twist and reshape during flight to control the air pressure they encountered.
  • Every modern airplane today incorporates an aspect of the Wright Brother's design.

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