Orville and Wilbur Wright are famous for building and flying the first airplane in the history of aviation. They successfully carried out their first flight on 17th December 1903. After that, they continued experimenting and made many improvements.
It brought a revolution in the world of transportation. The three-axis control system developed by the Wright brothers was their most important contribution. It resulted in the Wright brothers getting their first patent.
Wilbur was born on 16th April, 1867 in Indiana while Orville was born on 19th August, 1871 in Ohio. Their father, Milton Wright, was a church minister who moved often. As a result, the Wright family could not settle down in a single location.
A wide variety of books were available at the Wright household and their father encouraged them to read. Both brothers had different personalities, yet they complemented each other perfectly. Orville had a creative mindset, whereas Wilbur was more mature and would ensure that a project was completed.
Wilbur wanted to study at Yale and become a clergyman. However, he got injured while playing hockey. It depressed him and he decided to continue his studies at home. Orville’s enthusiasm for new things brought his brother out of that depressive state.
The boys started their newspaper called the West Side News where they produced everything from religious handouts to commercial fliers. They opened a Wright Cycle Shop in 1892 at the Dayton area. This helped them develop their mechanical skills. By the time they started working on an airplane, they already had developed an in-depth knowledge of practical mechanics.
The Wright brother developed a deep interest in flying. They were especially interested in Otto Lilienthal’s gliders. After reading about how Lilienthal and others were killed due to loss of control, the brother’s decided to focus on this issue.
They invented control surfaces, i.e. a kind of rudder which worked well in the air.They also built wings that moved up and down. After this, they carried out various experiments. From 1900 to 1902, the Wright brothers created gliders in the Dayton area and carried out test flights in Kitty Hawk. Along with this, they also created several prototype wings and even constructed a Wind Tunnel.
In 1903, the Wright brothers built an engine-powered propeller airplane. They successfully carried out their first flight on December 17, 1903 near Kitty Hawk. This was the first human-controlled airplane in history. The brothers continued their experiments after this initial success and by 1905 they had developed an improved design for the plane. In 1908, they revealed their masterpiece. Building on their achievements, they started an aircraft making company.
In 1903, the Wright brother had filed for a patent. However, it was rejected. One year later, they hired a patent lawyer who helped them secure their first patent. Still, some aviators tried to go around their patent which resulted in numerous legal battles.
In 1912, Wilbur died. According to his family, the patent war agitated his typhoid fever. In 1948, Orville died as well. The first plane created by the Wright brothers can be seen at the museum.
Wright Brothers at Amazon Books