The Wright Brothers

Orville (1871 –1948) and Wilbur (1867 – 1912) Wright were two American brothers credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane.  They  were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.  

In 1892 the Wright brothers had opened a bicycle sales and repair shop in Dayton,Ohio. They later manufactured bicycles and used the profits to finance their research with airplanes. The brothers gained their mechanical skills they needed by working in their shop with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery. Their bicycle shop employee, Charlie Taylor, became an important part of the team, building their first aircraft engine when the brothers could not find the engine they needed.

From 1900 until their first powered flights in late 1903, the Wrights conducted extensive glider tests that also developed their skills as pilots. On December 17, 1903 they made the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight. Orville Wright piloted the first powered airplane 20 feet above a beach in Kittyhawk, North Carolina. The flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. Three more flights were made that day with Orville’s brother Wilbur piloting the record flight lasting 59 seconds over a distance of 852 feet. Within two years the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. They were very secretive with their work due to the intense race for being the first to fly.

Tomorrow, Shine a Light     Rita Bay

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