The 1903 Wright Flyer
It was a cold and windy day in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. The 1903 Wright Flyer is just moments away from making history. The wind speed was averaging more than 20 miles per hour which were ideal conditions for this historic first flight.
The Wright Brothers decided this was the time to fly. They carefully laid out the launching rail and made their final preparations. Orville took his place aboard the Wright Flyer as his brother Wilbur looked on. With the engine running and purring like a kitten. It was almost time for the brothers inevitable date with destiny!
Wright Brothers First Flight RARE Footage – MUST SEE VIDEO!
The time has come to fly into history! Orville throttled up the engine to full power and off he went down the launching rail heading right into a bone chilling 20 knot wind blowing in his face. He finally left the launching rail and flew into the history books. Mans first powered flight only lasted for 12 seconds and flew a total of 120 feet (37m).
That distance is less than the wingspan of a Boeing 747! This first flight is the one that started it all and just under 66 years later, man would walk on the Moon. These guys could have never imagined what an impact they would have for generations to come. The first powered flight enabled man to fly faster than a speeding bullet with the AMAZING SR-71 Blackbird.
There was a total of four historic flights that memorable day with Wilbur and Orville taking turns at the controls. Wilbur did actually fly the first flight but as soon as he left the launching rail he pitched to the right and stalled. The Wright Flyer sustained minor damage which was quickly repaired for Orville’s historic first flight which was really the second flight.
Here’s A Fun Fact: Orville and Wilbur flipped a coin to see who would fly first. Wilbur won the flip but the first flight was unsuccessful. Orville would fly into history on the second flight of the day on December 17, 1903.
Wright Brothers History
In order to fully understand man’s first powered flight, you have to know the Wright Brothers History. Orville was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1871 and Wilbur near Millville, Indiana, in 1867. In 1878 their father, brought the boys a toy helicopter which was about a foot long.
The helicopter was based on an invention of French aeronautical pioneer Alphonse Pénaud. It was made of cork, bamboo and paper with a rubber band powered rotor. The brothers played with their toy helicopter until it broke. What they did next was truly AMAZING! They actually built their own working helicopter.
Briefly before the Wright Brothers opened up a repair and sales shop (the Wright Cycle Exchange, later the Wright Cycle Company) in December of 1892. They were in the printing business with a printing machine that the brothers built and designed themselves in 1889. For a brief period of time, the Wright brothers printed the Dayton Tattler which was a local newspaper at the time.
Being the entrepreneurs they were, they decided to take advantage of a brand new invention called the safety bicycle. It was a revolutionary new bicycle and lightyears ahead of the penny-farthing design (big-wheel bike). The penny-farthing design is a bicycle which is part of transportation history but was extremely dangerous to ride because of its huge front wheel.
The brothers quickly capitalized off of the national bicycle craze spurred by the brand new safety bicycle which was much easier to ride and much safer too. The safety bicycle was a huge breakthrough and could be ridden by just about anyone. In 1896, the brothers began manufacturing their own brand. That’s how they funded their growing interest in powered flight.
Wright Brothers First Flight
You are looking at the MOST FAMOUS photograph in aviation history! The Wright Brothers First Flight pictured below was taken on December 17, 1903 at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. In this famous photo, you can see The Wright Flyer as it lifts off from the launching rail with Orville onboard. You can see Wilbur off to the side looking on with anticipation. What a historic moment caught on film!
It took a lot of trial and error before this famous photo was taken. The Wright Brothers based their design in the 1890s by other aviation pioneers. They first started with a glider that was a box kite that they thoroughly tested before scaling up their design to a full size glider. There was still a lot of work to be done because they still haven’t figured out how to control the Wright Flyer.
Keep in mind what they were attempting to do has never been done before so they literally had to invent everything. There are 4 forces of flight the brothers were just beginning to understand. These same forces still apply today. They are lift, thrust, drag, and weight. The brothers needed to understand al of these forces and how to overcome them. This is why they were true geniuses!
They were able to overcome each obstacle along the way inventing things like their own wind tunnel to test drag and lift. The brothers even invented their own propellers which are aerodynamically perfect! Alll of this work took many years but on December 17, 1903, all of their work paid off for all of mankind. You can see the “ORIGINAL” Wright Flyer in the Air & Space Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., which is in the image above.
Wright Brothers 100th Anniversary of Powered Flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on Dec 17th 2003
It was a rainy day in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina for The Wright Brothers Centennial of Flight celebration. Exactly 100 years to the day of the Wright Brothers historic first flight. Over 35,000 flight enthusiasts gathered at Kitty-hawk to watch a reproduction Wright Flyer take to the skies just like the original Wright Flyer did 100 years ago to the very day.
There was a lot of excitement in the air as the festivities were kicked off by a few words by President Bush earlier in the day. Finally, the 100th-anniversary attempt to re-create the Wright brothers’ first flight was just about to begin. The crowd looked in aw as the replica Wright Flyer started down the launching rail and attempt to fly into history just like the Wright Brothers did on this very spot so many decades ago.
As it roared down the 200 foot wooden launching rail, the crowd cheered with anticipation. The replica Wright Flyer left the launching rail flying just 6 inches off the ground before crashing into a mud puddle. The crowd groaned as this first attempt was a complete failure just like Wilbur’s first flight was before Orville flew into history on the second flight that same day.
The replica Wright Flyer cost a staggering $1.2 million to build so the Experimental Aircraft Association, which built most of the Wright Flyer, took 3 hours to repair the damage but the Wright Flyer would never be able to fly that day. The weather conditions were rainy with calm winds. The Wright Brothers had a 20 knot head-wind the day they flew into history.
*Important To Note: With all the modern technology to reproduce the Wright Flyer, they could NOT accomplish what the Wright Brothers did 100 years earlier.
Wright Flyer Engine & Cockpit
The Wright Flyer Engine was designed by Wilbur and Orville Wright and the Wrights “mechanician,” Charlie Taylor, who assembled the engine and machined the parts himself. Here are Charlie’s words about building the engine, “We didn’t make any drawings. One of us would sketch out the part we were talking about on a piece of scratch paper, and I’d spike the sketch over my bench. It took me six weeks to make that engine!”
You are looking at the ORIGINAL Wright Flyer Engine on the same 1903 Wright Flyer that made the first powered flight. This photo was taken at the Smithsonian where you can see the Wright Flyer Engine for yourself. It was a state-of-the-art engine it its day and a masterpiece of engineering. It was the Wright Flyer Engine that help make powdered flight possible!
Take a good look at the photo below. You are looking at a first person view from the cockpit of the one and only 1903 Wright Flyer. This is the same view Orville would have had during his first flight in December of 1903. As you can see, Orville had to lay on his belly just like a glider pilot does to fly the Wright Flyer. This was flying at it’s BEST and in its infancy with the wind blowing right in your face!
There was only one Wright Flyer built and flew only four times. Later flyers included the Wright Flyer II and the Wright Flyer III. You no longer had to lay on your belly because they added a couple of seats that were positioned side by side. This was a huge improvement among many others like an engine with more horsepower and a sturdier frame. If these guys could only see what’s in the sky today!
Building A Running 1903 Wright Flyer Reproduction Engine
For The Wright Brothers Centennial of Flight celebration, The Wright Experience who was tasked with building a replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer needed an engine to complete their project. They decided to hire Jim and Steve Hay of Hay Manufacturing Co. in Minnesota to build the replica Wright Flyer Engine.
You would think that this would be quite a task for a company that makes trumpets parts, steel stampings and tool work. The reason why The Wright Experience went to Hay Manufacturing Co. is because they’ve already built a 1903 Wright Engine in 1976 which was first run at the EAA convention in 1977 and has been run during every EAA Convention ever since.
The Wright Experience had the Hay Manufacturing Co. build 3 Wright Flyer Engines for them. Each engine was built to the exact same specifications of the ORIGINAL Wright Flyer Engine. The original Wright Flyer Engine weighed about 180 pounds and could produce 12 horsepower at 1,025 revolutions per minute. The Wright Flyer Engine actually produced nearly 16 hp when it was first started but this dropped to 12 hp as soon as the engine heated up.
The Wright Flyer Engine is a key piece of aviation history and you can watch how the Hay Manufacturing Co. built this fantastic piece of machinery. Take a few moments and watch one of these Wright Flyers Engines being built. You’ll get to see how it’s done and BEST of all, hear what she sounds like! This is the closest you’ll ever get to hearing what the actual 1903 Wright Flyer sounded like. This is a MUST WATCH video!
Fly The 1903 Wright Flyer!
Hey Pilots! How would you like to fly the 1903 Wright Flyer right NOW? All you have to do is click on the button below and experience what it was like to fly with bugs in your teeth and the wind in your hair. This is flying like you’ve never experienced before! In fact, if you haven’t flown Virtual Pilot 3D, than you haven’t experienced what real-life flight is all about!
You are moments away from getting instant access to “The World’s MOST REALISTIC Flight Simulator Game!” Choose from over 200 aircraft to fly! Everything from the 1903 Wright Flyer to the Space Shuttle Atlantis and everything in between. No other flight simulator offers this many aircraft to fly. NONE!
You are just a few moments away from a kick-ass ride! Virtual Pilot 3D rivals popular flight simulator games like Microsoft Flight Simulator and Flight Simulator X. Even though those flight simulator games are GREAT, they don’t even come close to the ultra-realism Virtual Pilot 3D’s advanced flight modeling system can provide. This is flying the way it was meant to be! Virtual Pilot 3D is the MOST ADVANCED flight simulator game ever created for a PC!
Go ahead and test-fly The 1903 Wright Flyer NOW! Click on the button below and see what Virtual Pilot 3D is all about. If you have any comments or questions about The 1903 Wright Flyer or Virtual Pilot 3D, please leave them below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks for taking the time to land on our page today.
I’ll see you on the next page pilot!