The Wright Brothers first flight

On December 17 1903 The Wright Brothers – Orville and Wilbur, made the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. The Wright Brothers spent a great deal of time observing birds in flight & noticed that birds soared into the wind and that the air flowing over the curved surface of their wings created lift. Birds change the shape of their wings to turn and manoeuvre. They used this technique to obtain roll control by warping, or changing the shape, of a portion of the wing and they designed their first aircraft: a small, biplane glider flown as a kite to test this theory. Wing warping is a method of arching the wingtips slightly to control the aircraft’s rolling motion and balance. Over the next three years, Wilbur and his brother Orville designed a series of gliders flown in both unmanned (as kites) and piloted flights. They read about the works of Cayley, and Langley, and the hang-gliding flights of Otto Lilienthal. They corresponded with Octave Chanute concerning some of their ideas. They recognized that control of the flying aircraft would be the most crucial and hardest problem to solve.

Following a successful glider test, the Wrights built and tested a full-size glider & selected Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as their test site because of its wind, sand, hilly terrain and remote location. They successfully tested their new 50-pound biplane glider with its 17-foot wingspan and wing-warping mechanism at Kitty Hawk, in both unmanned and piloted flights, which became the first piloted glider. Based upon the results, the Wright Brothers refined the controls and landing gear, and built a bigger glider. In 1901, at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, the Wright Brothers flew the largest glider ever flown, with a 22-foot wingspan, a weight of nearly 100 pounds and skids for landing. Unfortunately the wings did not have enough lifting power; forward elevator was not effective in controlling the pitch; and the wing-warping mechanism occasionally caused the airplane to spin out of control.

The Wright brothers Then built a wind tunnel to test a variety of wing shapes and their effect on lift And This helped them get a greater understanding of how an airfoil (wing) works and they could calculate with greater accuracy how well a particular wing design would fly. They planned to design a new glider with a 32-foot wingspan and a tail to help stabilize it. So during 1902, the brothers flew numerous test glides using their new glider. Their studies showed that a movable tail would help balance the craft and the Wright Brothers connected a movable tail to the wing-warping wires to coordinate turns. With successful glides to verify their wind tunnel tests, the inventors planned to build a powered aircraft. After months of studying how propellers work the Wright Brothers designed a motor and a new aircraft sturdy enough to accommodate the motor’s weight and vibrations. The craft weighed 700 pounds and came to be known as the Flyer. The brothers built a movable track to help launch the Flyer. This downhill track would help the aircraft gain enough airspeed to fly. After two attempts to fly this machine, one of which resulted in a minor crash, Orville Wright took the Flyer for a 12-second, sustained flight on December 17, 1903. This was the first successful, powered, piloted flight in history.

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