Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Airplane Encyclopedia: The 1903 Wright Flyer
This aircraft was the first powered aircraft designed and built by the Wright brothers. They flew it four times on December 17, 1903 near the Kill Devil Hills, about four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
The U.S. Smithsonian Institution describes the aircraft as "the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard."
It needs all this qualifications because plenty of people prior to the Wrights were trying to develop powered, controlled flight... and either they had the control but not the power, or power but not control. The Wright Flyer put it all together, with the Wright's "wing-warping" innovation, which they would patent. It was a patent they would fight for, too, as will be revealed in later installments.
One key thing about this plane to note is that the pilot lay face down at its center.