Facts about the Wright Brothers

Facts about the Wright Brothers

Posted by Admin / in Science Facts

Wilber and Orville Wright are the original inventors of the powered aircraft, now known as the airplane. Many people had tried for many years to make a flying machine, but the only successful aircraft through 1900 were balloons and gliders. In 1903 the Wright Brothers were the first to power and airplane off the ground.

Wilbur & Orville Wright Monument at Kitty Hawk, NC

Wilbur and Orville Wright

Original Wright Cycle Shop at Greenfield Village Dearborn, MI


  • Wilbur Wright was the oldest brother. He was born on April 16, 1867 in Millville, Indiana.

  • Orville Wright was born on August 19, 1871 in Dayton, Ohio.

  • Neither Wilbur or Orville received a high school diploma, although Wilbur finished high school, but moved away before receiving his diploma.

  • In 1892 the Wright Brothers opened a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio

  • In 1906 the U.S. Patent Office awarded Wilbur and Orville the first patent for a flying machine.

  • Wilbur Wright died at the age of 45 on May 30, 1912 in Dayton, Ohio.

  • Orville Wright died at the age of 76 on January 30, 1948 in Dayton, Ohio.

Scientific Discovery of the Wright Brothers

1901-02 Wright Wind Tunnel Replica at Kitty Hawk, NC

The Wright Brothers had to develop many new technologies and improve existing ideas during development of their original flying machine the Wright Flyer. The brothers studied the flight of the birds to understand how flight was possible. From their observations they were able to see how birds tipped their wings to stabilize the path of their flight. From these observations they invented the idea of a glider capable of wing warping. They also developed the 3-axis control necessary for a pilot to stabilize the airplane in flight. They continued to make improvements on the original Flyer to develop airplanes that could do many more things. The Wright Brothers accomplished many firsts for flight including the first airplane flight, the first flight to travel in a circular path, the first airplane flight to carry a passenger, the first flight to carry a female passenger, the first airplane flight in Europe and many more.

For a total of $1000 the Wright brothers built the original 1903 Wright Flyer. The original 1903 Wright Flyer had a length of 21'-1" and a wingspan of 40'-4". The weight of the 1903 Flyer was 605 pounds. It's longest flight was 852 feet. It traveled at an average speed of 9.9 miles per hour. The engine for the 1903 Wright Flyer was built by Charles Taylor. It was 12 HP engine with an aluminum block to reduce weight.


  • Bicycles - Developed the self-oiling hub that avoided build-up of dirt and common failure of the bearings.

  • Bicycles- Developed pedals that did not tighten or loosen when they are pedaled.

  • In 1901 the Wright Brothers built the first wind tunnel experiment device in the United States

  • Studied and made their own airplane propellers, advancing knowledge in the subject

  • Made their own lightweight aluminum aircraft engine

  • Inventing the idea of wing-warping. This allowed their aircraft to twist its wings to stabilize the airplane.

  • Invented the aircraft elevator. This controls the nose of the plane (up and down movement).

  • Developed the aircraft rudder system. In aircraft after the 1903 flyer they fine tuned the size and control of the rudder to become the first aircraft to fly a circular flight path.

  • Invented the 3-axis control to stabilize and control flight of an airplane. This control method is still used today!

  • Received a 1906 patent for flying machine from the US Patent Office.

The Wright Brothers Today

There are several places to see some of the Wright Brothers inventions. Dayton, Ohio, the Wright brothers hometown, is a good place to visit to find out more about their life. Carillon Historical Park, near the University of Dayton campus, contains the original 1905 Wright Flyer III. A replica of the original Wright Cycle Shop, where the Wright brothers designed and built the original Flyer, is also here. Nearby is the Huffman Prairie Flying Field. This was the location where the Wrights' practiced their aircraft and later created a flight school. The Wright State University Library has a special Wright brothers collection. It contains thousands of documents, photos, technical papers, and personal information about the lives of the Wright brothers including the information they recorded while inventing the airplane. The National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton contains a replica of the original 1909 Wright Military Flyer. The engine for the replica was donated by Orville Wright. There is also a replica of the original 1901 wind tunnel. The replica was built before World War II with the help of Orville Wright to help the US military. Also, this museum contains more information about the Wright brothers and heavier-than-air flight in the Early Years gallery. This museum has free admission to the general public.

In Dearborn Michigan, near Detroit, the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village contain some interesting Wright brothers history. Henry Ford purchased and moved the original Wright brothers home and cycle shop to Greenfield Village. Orville Wright actually attended the opening ceremony of Greenfield Village with Henry Ford. Inside the Henry Ford Museum there is a replica of the original Wright Flyer and the Wright wind tunnel on display.

Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk in North Carolina is a great place to visit to see where the Wright brothers first flew an airplane. The sand dunes of Kill Devil Hills are a good place to see the type of place the Wright Brothers used to test and fly the 1903 Flyer. It is also a great place to fly a kite! Down the street in Kitty Hawk, the Wright Brothers Memorial is a great place to visit to learn about Wilbur and Orville. There is a 1903 Wright flyer replica and many other pieces of technology the Wright's created or used to develop their flying machine. This is also the location of the the Wright Brother's first flights. There are markers to show the locations of the first 3 flights. Not too far away, the original 1903 Wright Flyer is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.. The first U.S. military airplane, the original 1909 Wright Miliary Flyer is also on display at the National Air and Space Museum.


  • Carillon Historical Park in Dayton
    Original 1905 Wright Flyer III, Wright Cycle Shop replica

  • National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio - Original 1909 Wright Military Flyer

  • Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan - Original Wright Flyer Replica

  • Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan - Original Wright Cycle Shop and family home (moved from Dayton, OH)

  • Kitty Hawk, North Carolina - Original location of first flight, replica of first Wright Flyer, replica of Wright wind tunnel, replica of Wright airplane engine, Wright Brother monument

  • National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. - Original 1903 Wright Flyer and original 1909 Wright Military Flyer

1903 Wright Flyer Replica at Kitty Hawk, NC

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posted by Admin