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Encyclopedia > Wright Flyer
Wright Flyer
Kitty Hawk, North Carolina; December 17, 1903
Type {{{type}}}
Manufacturer Orville and Wilbur Wright
Maiden flight December 17, 1903
Status Decommissioned
Variants Wright Glider
Wright Flyer II
Wright Flyer III

The Wright Flyer (often retrospectively referred to as Flyer I and occasionally Kitty Hawk) was the first powered aircraft designed and built by the Wright brothers. It is considered by many to be the first successful powered, piloted aircraft. Download high resolution version (899x576, 106 KB)This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons, a repository of free content hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. ... Kitty Hawk is a town located in Dare County, North Carolina. ... Official language(s) English Capital Raleigh Largest city Charlotte Area  Ranked 28th  - Total 53,865 sq mi (139,509 km²)  - Width 150 miles (240 km)  - Length 560[1] miles (901 km)  - % water 9. ... December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1900 (MCMIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Friday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... An aerospace manufacturer is a company or individual involved in the various aspects of designing, building, testing, selling, and maintaining aircraft, aircraft parts, missiles, rockets, and/or spacecraft. ... The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871–January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867–May 30, 1912), were two Americans generally credited with building the worlds first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and heavier-than-air human flight on December 17, 1903. ... The Maiden flight of an aircraft is the first occasion on which an aircraft leaves the ground of its own accord. ... December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1900 (MCMIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Friday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... The Wright Brothers developed a series of four gliders as they worked towards achieving flight. ... The Wright Flyer II at Huffman Prairie. ... The Wright Flyer III in flight over Huffman Prairie. ... The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871–January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867–May 30, 1912), were two Americans generally credited with building the worlds first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and heavier-than-air human flight on December 17, 1903. ...


Much controversy persists around the many competing claims of early aviators. See first flying machine for more discussion. There are conflicting views as to what was the first flying machine. ...

Contents

Design and construction

A diagram of the 1903 Wright Flyer I, showing its major components.

The Flyer was based on the Wrights' experience testing gliders at Kitty Hawk between 1900 and 1902. Their last glider, the 1902 Glider, led directly to the design of the Flyer. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1792x1188, 184 KB) Summary A drawing of the Wright Flyer, showing its major components. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1792x1188, 184 KB) Summary A drawing of the Wright Flyer, showing its major components. ... Kitty Hawk is a town located in Dare County, North Carolina. ... The 1902 Wright Glider on one of its earlier test flights (before the addition of a single moveable vertical tail). ...


The Wrights built the aircraft in 1903 using 'giant spruce' wood as their construction material. Since they could find no suitable automobile engine for the task, they commissioned their employee Charlie Taylor to build a new design from scratch. A sprocket chain drive, borrowing from bicycle technology, powered the twin propellers, which were also made by hand. This is a list of aviation-related events from 1903: // Léon Levavasseur demonstrates his Antoinette engine, designed as a lightweight powerplant specifically for aircraft. ... Binomial name Picea sitchensis (Bong. ... Charles Edward Charlie Taylor (May 24, 1868 - January 30, 1956) built the engine used by the Wright brothers in their early aircraft, the Flyer. ... Roller chain and sprocket Mack AC delivery truck at the Petersen Automotive Museum with chain drive visible Chain drive was a popular power transmission system from the earliest days of the automobile. ... “Velo” redirects here. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


The Flyer was a canard biplane configuration. The pilot flew lying on his stomach on the lower wing with his head toward the front of the craft. He steered by moving a cradle attached to his hips. The cradle pulled wires which warped the wings and turned the rudder. This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Wing warping was an early system for controlling the roll of an aeroplane while flying. ...


The Flyer's "runway" was a track of 2x4s stood on their narrow end, which the brothers nicknamed the "Junction Railroad." Dimensional lumber is a term used in North America for lumber that is cut to standardized width and depth specified in inches. ...


Flight tests at Kitty Hawk

Upon returning to Kitty Hawk in 1903, the Wrights completed assembly of the Flyer while practicing on the 1902 Glider from the previous season. On December 14, 1903, they felt ready for their first attempt at powered flight. They tossed a coin to decide who would get the first chance at piloting, and Wilbur won the toss. However, he pulled up too sharply, stalled, and brought the Flyer back down with minor damage. December 14 is the 348th day of the year (349th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1900 (MCMIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Friday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ...


The repairs for the abortive first flight took three days, so that the Flyer was ready again on December 17. Since Wilbur already had the first chance, Orville took his turn at the controls. His first flight lasted 12 seconds for a total distance of 120 feet (36.5 meters). December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Taking turns, the Wrights made four brief, low-altitude flights on that day. The last, by Wilbur, lasted 59 seconds and covered 853 feet (260 meters). Soon after this flight, a heavy gust picked up the Flyer and tumbled it end over end, damaging it beyond any hope of quick repair.


Every flight of the aircraft on December 14 and 17 -- under very difficult conditions on the 17th -- ended in a bumpy and unintended "landing". On the fourth landing, the front elevator supports were broken, which the Wrights hoped to repair for a possible four-mile flight to Kitty Hawk village. The flight paths were all essentially straight; turns were not attempted. In 1904, the Wrights continued refining their designs and piloting techniques in order to obtain fully controlled flight. Major progress toward this goal was achieved in 1904 and even more decisively with the modifications during the 1905 program, which resulted in a 39-minute, 24 mile nonstop circling flight by Wilbur on October 5. While the 1903 Flyer was clearly a historically important test vehicle, its near-mythical status in the popular imagination has obscured its more important place as part of a continuing development program that eventually led to the Wrights' mastery of controlled flight in 1905.


The Flyer after Kitty Hawk

The Wright Brothers returned home to Dayton for Christmas after the flights of the Flyer. While they had abandoned their other gliders, they realized the historical significance of the Flyer. They crated it and shipped it back to Dayton, where it stayed in storage for 9 years. It was inundated in the Great Dayton Flood in March 1913. Nickname: Coordinates: Country United States State Ohio County Montgomery Founded April 1, 1796 Incorporated 1805 Government  - Mayor Rhine L. McLin Area  - City  56. ... The Great Dayton Flood of 1913 flooded Dayton, Ohio and the surrounding area with water from the Great Miami River, causing the greatest natural disaster[1] in Ohio history. ...


In 1916, Orville brought the Flyer out of storage and prepared it for display at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Wilbur had died in 1912.) He replaced parts of the covering, the props, and the engine's crankcase, crankshaft, and flywheel. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private, coeducational research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ...


Debate with the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Institution refused to give credit to the Wright Brothers for the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft. Instead, they honored the former Smithsonian Secretary Samuel Pierpont Langley, whose 1903 tests of his own Aerodrome on the Potomac were not successful. In 1914, Glenn Curtiss flew a heavily modified Aerodrome from Keuka Lake, N.Y., providing the Smithsonian a basis for its claim that the aircraft was the first powered, heavier than air flying machine "capable" of manned flight. The Smithsonian Institution Building or Castle on the National Mall serves as the Institutions headquarters. ... Samuel Pierpont Langley. ... Potomac may refer to: Potomac River, which flows through Washington DC and Alexandria VA, USA Potomac, an unincorporated area in Montgomery County, Maryland, USA Potomac, a village in Vermilion County, Illinois, USA Potomac, a Native American tribe A general term given to the Washington, D.C./Maryland metropolitan area One... Glenn H. Curtiss at the Grande Semaine dAviation in France in 1909 Glenn Hammond Curtiss (May 21, 1878 – July 23, 1930) was an aviation pioneer and founder of the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, now part of Curtiss-Wright Corporation. ... Keuka Lake is an unusual member of the Finger Lakes because it is Y-shaped instead of long and narrow. ...


In 1925, Orville attempted to shame the Smithsonian into recognizing his accomplishment by threatening to send the Flyer to the Science Museum in London. The threat did not have its intended effect, and the Flyer went on display in the museum in 1928. During the Second World War, it was moved to an underground vault 100 miles from London where England's other treasures were kept safe from the conflict. The Science Museum on Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London is part of the National Museum of Science and Industry. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...


In 1942 the Smithsonian Institution published a list of the Curtiss modifications to the Aerodrome and a retraction of its long-held claims for the craft. The next year, Orville agreed to return the Flyer to the United States. The Flyer stayed at the Science Museum until a replica could be built, based on the original.


In the Smithsonian

A three-view of the Flyer, drawn by the Smithsonian Institution in 1950.

The Flyer was put on display in the Arts and Industries Building of the Smithsonian on December 17, 1948, 45 years after the aircraft's only flights. (Orville did not live to see this, as he died in January of that year.) In 1976, it was moved to the Milestones of Flight Gallery of the new National Air and Space Museum. It resided in an exhibit of "The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age," where it stayed until October, 2006. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1800x981, 151 KB) Summary A 3-view of the Wright Flyer, created by the Smithsonian Institution in 1950. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1800x981, 151 KB) Summary A 3-view of the Wright Flyer, created by the Smithsonian Institution in 1950. ... December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1948 calendar). ... National Air and Space Museum exterior The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) of the Smithsonian Institution is a museum in Washington, D.C., United States. ...


1985 restoration

In 1981, discussion began on the need to restore the Flyer from the aging it sustained during years on display. During the ceremonies celebrating the 78th anniversary of the first flights, Mrs. Harold S. Miller, one of the Wright brothers' nieces, presented the Museum with the original covering of one wing of the Flyer, which she had received in her inheritance. She expressed her wish to see the aircraft restored.


The fabric covering on the aircraft at the time, which came from the 1927 restoration, was discolored and marked with water spots. Metal fasteners holding the wing uprights together had begun to corrode, marking the nearby fabric.


Work began in 1985. The restoration was supervised by Senior Curator Robert Mikesh and assisted by Wright Brothers expert Tom Crouch. Museum director Walter J. Boyne decided to perform the restoration in full view of the public.


The wooden framework was cleaned, and corrosion on metal parts removed. The covering was the only part of the aircraft replaced. The new covering was more accurate to the original than that of the 1927 restoration. To preserve the original paint on the engine, the restorers coated it in inert wax before putting on a new coat of paint.


The effects of the 1985 restoration were supposed to last 75 years before another restoration would be required.[1]


Flyer reproductions

The AIAA's Flyer reproduction undergoing testing in a NASA wind tunnel.

A number of individuals and groups have attempted to build reproductions of the Wright Flyer for demonstration or scientific purposes. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1586x2000, 216 KB)A Wright Flyer replica by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) undergoing testing in a NASA wind tunnel. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1586x2000, 216 KB)A Wright Flyer replica by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) undergoing testing in a NASA wind tunnel. ... The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the scholarly society for the field of aerospace engineering. ... This article is about the American space agency. ...


In 1978, 23-year-old Ken Kellett built a replica Flyer in Colorado and flew it at Kitty Hawk on the 75th and 80th anniversaries of the first flight there. Construction took a year and cost $3,000.


As the 100th anniversary on December 17, 2003 approached, the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission along with other organizations opened bids for companies to recreate the original flight. The Wright Experience, led by Ken Hyde, won the bid and painstakingly recreated replicas of the original Flyer plus many of the prototype gliders and kites as well as several subsequent Wright aircraft. The completed Flyer replica was brought to Kitty Hawk and pilot Kevin Kochersberger attempted to recreate the original flight at 10:35 AM December 17, 2003 from Kill Devil Hill. Although the aircraft had previously made several successful test flights, sour weather, rain, and weak winds prevented a successful flight on the actual anniversary date. December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Numerous nonflying replicas are on display around the United States and across the world, making this perhaps the most replicated single aircraft in history.


Media

First flights in aviation history. ...

Specifications (Wright Flyer)

North Carolina 50 State Quarter features the famous first flight photo of the 1903 Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Length: 21 ft 1 in (6.43 m)
  • Wingspan: 40 ft 4 in (12.29 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 0 in (2.74 m)
  • Wing area: 510 ft² (47 m²)
  • Empty weight: 605 lb (274 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 745 lb (338 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1× straight-4 water-cooled piston engine, 12 hp (9 kW)

Performance

Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Official language(s) English Capital Raleigh Largest city Charlotte Area  Ranked 28th  - Total 53,865 sq mi (139,509 km²)  - Width 150 miles (240 km)  - Length 560[1] miles (901 km)  - % water 9. ... Obverse of redesigned quarter The 50 State Quarters program is the release of a series of commemorative coins by the United States Mint. ... Kitty Hawk is a town located in Dare County, North Carolina. ... The distance AB is the wing span of this Aer Lingus Airbus A320. ... In aviation, the Maximum Take-Off Weight (or MTOW) is the maximum weight with which an aircraft is allowed to try to achieve flight. ... The straight-4 or inline-4 is an internal combustion engine with four cylinders aligned in one row. ... VNO of an aircraft is the V speed which refers to the velocity of normal operation. ... The maximal total range is the distance an aircraft can fly between takeoff and landing as limited by its fuel capacity. ... In aeronautics, the service ceiling is the maximum density altitude where the best rate of climb airspeed will produce a 100 feet per minute climb(twin engine) and 50 feet(single engine) at maximum weight while in a clean configuration with maximum continuous power. ... This page is a candidate to be moved to Wiktionary. ... In aerodynamics, wing loading is the loaded weight of the aircraft divided by the area of the wing. ... Power-to-weight ratio is a measure commonly used when comparing various vehicles (or engines), including automobiles, motorcycles and aircraft. ...

References

^  Mikesh, Robert C., and Tom D. Crouch, "Restoration: The Wright Flyer." National Air and Space Museum Research Report 1985, pp. 135-141.

  • Hise, Phaedra, "In Search of the Real Wright Flyer." Air&Space/Smithsonian, January 2003, pp. 22-29.
  • Jakab, Peter L., "The Original," Air&Space/Smithsonian, March, 2003, pp. 34-39.

External links

Related content

Related development

1902 Glider - Flyer II - Flyer III The 1902 Wright Glider on one of its earlier test flights (before the addition of a single moveable vertical tail). ... The Wright Flyer II at Huffman Prairie. ... The Wright Flyer III in flight over Huffman Prairie. ...

Comparable aircraft

N/A

Designation sequence

Flyer - Flyer II - Flyer III The Wright Flyer II at Huffman Prairie. ... The Wright Flyer III in flight over Huffman Prairie. ...

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Atop the wind swept dunes of North Carolina, it was with their gliders that the Wright Brothers first learned to master the control of pitch and yaw by horizontal and vertical rudders.
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The shape of the Wright Flyer's propellers were therefore modeled after the shape of their wings.
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Like their two previous airplanes, Wright Flyer III was a biplane with a dual canard elevator, dual pusher propellers, and a dual vertical tail.
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