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Wright Flyer


Wright Flyer
The iconic aircraft that was created by the most famous of sibling partnerships
Orville and Wilbur Wright were dedicated to their task of developing powered flight. Meticulously tested, the Wright Flyer was constructed in Dayton, Ohio but failed to take off on the first tests carried out on 14 December 1903. It eventually managed to get airborne a few days later on 17 December and achieved a best of 260 metres (852 feet) as Wilbur and Orville took turns to pilot their invention. The aircraft was launched from a short monorail track by two modified bicycle wheel hubs. The engine was very basic and worked using a hand lever that could only open and close the fuel line rather than throttle. Prior to the Flyer, the brothers created various gliders from 1900 to 1903 that were tested without great success. Eventually, they found the perfect formula as it became the first heavier than air machine to get airborne.

Designed in a biplane structure, the Wright Flyer had an unfortunate untimely demise when it was wrecked four days after its maiden flight by a huge gust of wind. The design was first housed in the British Science Museum before moving to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in the USA after Orville’s death in 1948.

Wright Flyer, Smithsonian National Air, British Science Museum