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Wright Brothers' First Flight
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The idea of flight has captivated mankind since the dawn of time. However, the task of creating a heavier-than-air flying craft only became technically feasible in the beginning of the 20th century. Many researchers, engineers, and passionate enthusiasts worked on the problem all over the world. Despite this fact, Orville and Wilbur Wright, are widely acknowledged as the creators of the first vehicle similar to modern airplanes.

The ‘flight problem’ mainly consisted of three technical sub-problems: a powerful and reliable engine was needed, a wing with a high enough lift force, and devices to control the machine stably while in flight. While the first two tasks had already been solved by the beginning of the century. The latter was mostly overlooked by the Wright’s predecessors. Some aviation pioneers believed that a simple rudder would be enough to steer a flying vehicle. While others were going to use shifting of the pilot’s body as a method of control. When the Wright’s began to study the problem, they focused their attention on the way birds use their wing tips. They observed the birds changing the angle of their wings to maneuver in three dimensions. By using wind tunnels to test their innovative flight control surfaces, they corrected the inaccurate data about the aerodynamic properties of the air. Showing that they were not only aircraft designers but also inquisitive researchers

The Wright’s managed to create an adequately refined design by the end of 1903 and the first model was tested at the dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1900. The airplane used a ‘canard’ configuration that features elevators placed in front of the pilot. The Wright Brother’s first successful flight happened on December the 17th, 1903. The airplane covered 37 m in 12 seconds, at a speed of 10.9 kilometers per hour.

Despite the initial skepticism of the public (especially in Europe where much advancement had already taken place) the brothers continued to improve the Flyer. They founded one of the first aircraft manufacturing companies for the US called The Wright Company. The Wright company later merged with its main rival Curtiss Aeroplane Company, forming The Curtiss Wright Corporation that exists to present days.

Orville Wright’s flight on December the 17th, 1903 has started the aviation era, opening a road to the skies for all of humanity.

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