Facts about Wright Brothers

  • The Wright brothers first airplane was actually a glider.
  • Both brothers were eager to pilot the first flight. A coin toss gave Wilbur the honor, but his attempt on Dec. 14 failed. Orville was successful on the next attempt on Dec. 17.
  • Their first flight using an engine was on a Thursday at 10:35 on 17 December 1903 at Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.
  • After a failed attempt on 14 Dec 1903 by Wilbur, the Wrights flew the world’s first powered airplane at Kitty Hawk on 17 Dec 1903. Beginning at 10:35 AM, Orville flew it about 120-feet or 36.5 meters (in about 12 seconds. Then Wilbur flew for about 175 feet or 53.3 meters, followed by Orville who flew about 200 feet or 60.9 meters. Finally about 12:00 PM, Wilbur flew 852 feet or 259.7 meters in 59 seconds.
  • The Wright Flyer has a wingspan of 12.3 m (40.3 ft) and the engine of the plane weighed 82 kg which made the plane weigh a total of 274 kg. Their engine was called a piston engine; this had a total of twelve horsepower.
  • Prior to the successful flight of 17 December, the Wright Brothers made initial flights with the Wright Flyer with Wilbur at the controls but it was unsuccessful and incurred damage to the aircraft.
  • The Wright Brothers met no greater contradiction in their efforts than their father, Milton Wright, a church minister who made the famous statement “It is impossible for men in the future to fly like birds. Flying is reserved for the angels. Do not mention that again lest you be guilty of blasphemy.”
  • Orville was thirty -two years old and Wilbur was thirty-six years old when they made that record-setting flight that ultimately ushered mankind to the future conquering the skies. They devoted their life so much to the effort of perfecting men “self-designed wings” to the extent that they never married.
  • In 1900, the Wrights successfully tested their new 50-pound biplane glider with its 17-foot wingspan and wing-warping mechanism at Kitty Hawk, in both unmanned and piloted flights.
  • In 1904, the first flight lasting more than five minutes took place on November 9. The Flyer II was flown by Wilbur Wright.
  • The Wright Brothers would continue perfecting their airplane designs but would suffer a major setback in 1908 when they were involved in the first fatal airplane crash.
  • Wilbur eventually joined Orville’s printing business, and in 1889 the brothers began to publish a weekly newspaper, the West Side News. The following year, they published a short-lived daily newspaper, The Evening Item. In 1892 they switched gears and opened the Wright Cycle Company, a successful bicycle repair and sales shop that financed their flying experiments.
  • The 1903 Wright Flyer is one of the most popular exhibits at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, but for decades, Orville refused to donate the aircraft to the national institution.

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