Wright brothers

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Orville Wright

Photo: 1903
Born August 19, 1871(1871-08-19)
Dayton, Ohio
Died January 30, 1948 (aged 76)
Dayton, Ohio
Ethnicity German, Dutch, English
Occupation printer/publisher, bicycle retailer/manufacturer, airplane inventor/manufacturer, pilot trainer
Spouse none
Wilbur Wright

Photo: 1903
Born April 16, 1867(1867-04-16)
Millville, Indiana
Died May 30, 1912 (aged 45)
Dayton, Ohio
Ethnicity German, Dutch, English
Occupation editor, bicycle retailer/manufacturer, airplane inventor/manufacturer, pilot trainer
Spouse none

The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867May 30, 1912), were two Americans who are generally credited[1][2][3] with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight on December 17, 1903. In the two years afterward, the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. Although not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were not the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed wing flight possible. The first were the Germans Gustav Whitehead in 1901 and two years later Karl Jatho. The flight of the Wright-Brothers was only the third of all.

The brothers' fundamental breakthrough was their invention of "three axis-control", which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and to maintain its equilibrium.[4] This method became standard and remains standard on fixed wing aircraft of all kinds.[5][6] From the beginning of their aeronautical work, the Wright brothers focused on unlocking the secrets of control to conquer "the flying problem", rather than developing more powerful engines as some other experimenters did. Their careful wind tunnel tests produced better aeronautical data than any before, enabling them to design and build wings and propellers more effective than any before.[7][8] Their U.S. patent 821,393 claims the invention of a system of aerodynamic control that manipulates a flying machine's surfaces.[9]

They gained the mechanical skills essential for their success by working for years in their shop with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery. Their work with bicycles in particular influenced their belief that an unstable vehicle like a flying machine could be controlled and balanced with practice.[10] Their bicycle shop employee Charlie Taylor became an important part of the team, building their first aircraft engine in close collaboration with the brothers.

External links

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.


  1. Smithsonian Institution, "The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age"
  2. Johnson, Mary Ann. =On the Aviation Trail in the Wright Brothers' West Side Neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio Wright State University, 2001.
  3. BBC News: Flying through the ages
  4. Padfield, Gareth D., Professor of Aerospace Engineering, and Lawrence, Ben, researcher. "The Birth of Flight Control: An Engineering Analysis of the Wright Brothers’ 1902 Glider." (PDF format) The Aeronautical Journal, Department of Engineering, The University of Liverpool, UK, December 2003, p. 697. Retrieved: 23 January 2008.
  5. Howard 1988, p. 89.
  6. Jakab 1997, p. 183.
  7. Jakab 1997, p. 156.
  8. Crouch 2003, p. 228.
  9. Flying Machine patent
  10. Crouch 2003, p. 169.