We’ve come a long way in aviation in a relatively short period since the first manned flight. Wilbur and Orville Wright were two ordinary brothers before they built the planet’s first powered and controllable aircraft – here are 11 interesting facts about the Wright brothers.
1. Wilbur and Orville Wright were intrigued by the concept of flight from an early age. Their interest was attributed to a toy “helicopter” that their father bought them from his travels to France. It was made from a stick, rubber bands and two propellers. Their quest to making their very own flying machine began here.
2. Their mother, Susan Koerner Wright, could reportedly make anything, be it a toy or a sled, by hand.
3. Neither brother graduated from high school despite being undoubtedly bright. While Orville dropped out of school, Wilbur became reclusive after suffering a terrible hockey injury.
4. The interest in flight peaked for the Wright brothers when they witnessed a series of successful aeronautical milestones (e.g. gliding flights and unmanned steam-powered fixed-wing model aircraft). Wilbur was convinced that human flight was possible and asked Smithsonian to send him literature on aeronautics. The Wright brother began studying once they received the books.
5. After building many prototypes, the Wright brothers travelled to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to test out their two-winged glider. It was a private place with soft ground and a windy atmosphere.
6. They tested out various designs and returned to Kitty Hawk in the winter of 1903 to try out their final model. They achieved great success, with four brief flights, one lasting up to 59 seconds.
7. The heavy wind caused the “final” model to flip several times which resulted in severe damage. Therefore, it never flew again and was donated to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.
8. The press did not pay much attention to the Kitty Hawk flights at first as they thought that it was not worth covering. However, after several error-ridden articles printed by several journalists, Dayton Journal wrote an official and accurate report.
9. The Wright brothers had a close bond. They worked together for 6 days a week, ate the same meals and even shared their bank account! Neither of the brothers got married.
10. Despite the strong bonds, they were opposites in numerous ways. Wilbur Wright was a more serious person who had a phenomenal memory, while Orville was more positive and upbeat.
11. Neil Armstrong carried a piece of the Wright Flyer to the Moon.