Brothers WRIGHT

the brothers WRIGHT, Orville WRIGHT (* 19. August 1871 in Dayton, Ohio; † 30. January 1948) and Wilbur WRIGHT (* 16. April 1867 in Melville, Indiana; † 30. May 1912 in Dayton, Ohio) are the inventors of the motor driven airplaneand first steered powered flights accomplished according to the principle “more heavily than air” of the world.


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Orville Wright
Orville WRIGHTs
Workshop of the Gebr. WRIGHTs

Wilbur and Orville WRIGHT grew as the third and/or. fourth son of a Protestant bishop († 1917) in Dayton, Ohio, the USA up. They were already very early interested in the technology and also in the Fliegerei, which after their ownMemory thereby began that their father gave them in the summer 1878 a screw flier toy, a so-called “Hilicoptere”, which the two copied, after it broke. Of course they let rise also frequently built kites, this were special since Benjamin Franklins attempts with electrical charges under the youthin the USA extremely popular.

By the war of secession become impoverished, bishop Wright could not let sons study its, whereupon years began this center of the 1880er to operate printering. They printed local newspapers, church newspapers and catalogs and at the end of the Jahrzents were them with onecreated newspaper even journalistically actively. Took over it all substantial work up to the selling. Their plans to develop a factory for combustion engines had to give it up for lack of capital however. It was enough only for a bicycle repair workshop, which they opened and so well led 1890 in Dayton,that already three years later a factory, which had become WRIGHT Cycling company from it - before they had one year some first the Safety in such a way specified Bikes (bicycles with two equal large tires, which made the bicycle driving simpler and more popular) acquired. The brothersWRIGHTs had become by own effort outstanding mechanics, contemporaries described them as modestly, punctually, industrious and a modest life leading. With the bicycle workshop they secured on the one hand their material existence, on the other hand one they gained experiences, which benefitted later them with the aircraft construction, for example questions thatBalance, the easy weight, the Kettenantriebs and the aerodynamics. 1895 extended it its enterprise with first developed bicycle model. Up to the year 1900 so approximately 300 individually made bicycles developed.

Otto Lilienthal admired

and were theory of flying the WRIGHTs extraordinarily ofits deadly crash shakes. Thereupon they decided to investigate the cause of accident and to build a safe flight apparatus. They proceeded just as systematically as Lilienthal and began still 1886 with the study of all aerotechnical literature, in particular from Sir George Cayley, Octave Chanute, James Means(1853 to 1920), Louis Pierre Mouillard (1834-1897) and naturally Otto Lilienthal. In their autobiography they wrote: “Mouillard and Lilienthal, the large prophets of the flight, would fulfill us with their indelible enthusiasm and transformed the large curiosity into the eagerness of works”. To 30. May 1899 turnedhe expressed himself his conviction to Wilbur to the Smithsonian of institutes in Washington with the request for proof of further literature, in this letter that “the flight of humans is possible and practically realizable”. It used all time, which to it the enterprise left, on thatStudy of aerotechnical problems: “It is my desire to acquire me everything which already admits over it is, around then after possibility my Scherflein for the schliesslichen success of a future inventor to contribute.”

Double-decker sliding apparatus

WRIGHTs arrange,
Wilbur l., Orville R. in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina 1901

1899 began the brotherswith the building of the first flight apparatus, a double-decker sliding apparatus. It possessed already an extremely important characteristic: the twisting of the bearing areas, with which the horizontal situation could be manufactured again and again.Edmund Rumpler said to this invention, “… which is copied directly from the bird flight ", it had “… mainlycontributed to cause large successes of the brothers WRIGHTs ". The WRIGHTs relied first also on the tables of Lilienthal, it found out however that the Smeaton coefficient, a variable in the formulas for lift and air resistance, was incorrect. In order to accomplish practical tests, they leftbuild a wind tunnel from its employee Charlie Taylor. The construction as double-deckers brought enormous advantages for the future engine installation: Such a construction produces with same span more lift, so that the apparatus already took off at a smaller speed. The disadvantage of increased air resistance gotthe small speeds of that time not yet for carrying.

Octobers 1900 tested the two brothers the double-decker gliding flight only once unmanned on the area in Kill Devil Hills, acquired by them particularly for flight tests, with Kitty Hawk in North Carolina, a place on the OuterBank at the Atlantic coast, which because of strong and constant hoist was particularly suitable. In the summer an improved apparatus permitted manned gliding flights up to 100 m and with up to 35 km/h head wind to 1901, whereby the pilot served the apparatus lying. In the autumn one loaded thenOctave Chanute, that in the meantime nearly 70-jährigen “large old man” of the American Fliegerei, to attend the experiments. It helped Augustus M. with its assistant. Herring (1865 to 1926) unselfishly to improve the sliding apparatus and was a enthusiastischer advocate of the WRIGHTs, both in the USA as well asin Europe.

With the test flights one made a further important aerotechnical discovery with the negative turning moment: the turning flight only by means of Flügelverwindung did not succeed. Only the attachment of a mobile rudder and the synchronisation of its excursions with the Flügelverwindung permitted it to waive the negative moment and therebyto maneuver at will. Alfred Hildebrand, which as the first in Germany appreciated the activities, wrote after a meeting in the USA: “One has the feeling that one has people before itself, on which one in every respect and in all situations of the life rely can.”And: “They lose your peace never, never left themselves them to something to urge, which they did not want; they never could be tempted to dare a flight test in a weather, which was unfavorable them. “The flight tests however always stood in the foreground, Wilbur had the principle: ” Ifone perfect security wants, does one well to it, to a window too sat down and the birds to observe - if one something to however really learn wants mount, must one a flight apparatus and make oneself familiar by practical attempts with its peculiarities. “In the yearsnumerous gliding flights with the double-decker glider, however 1902 over 1.000, the longest over 622,5 m with 26 s flying time followed 1901 to 1903. After these successes the WRIGHTs requested to 23. March 1903 a patent of their aircraft design and decided to equip the apparatus with an engine.

Double-decker power plane

Orville fliegt mit der Kitty Hawk
Orville flies the WRIGHTs with

the Kitty Hawk cut a propeller with a high efficiency and could, since anywhere a suitable engine was not to be gotten, from Taylor in the bicycle factory one be manufactured. Within shortest time a straight once 110 kg of heavy developed, water-cooledFour-cylinder four-cycle petrol engine, which delivered 12 HP. For the compensation of the moments the flight apparatus received to two propellers moving in opposite directions, whose drive went over roller chains, which in pipes ran, in order vibrations to avoid.

In the morning 17. December 1903 was then so far it, Orville WRIGHT conquered with that Flyer air. It was 12 seconds long in air and put thereby 37 m back (10.8 km/h). Wilbur, of everyone followed directly flew on this day twice. Wilbur succeeded thereby one flight from 59 seconds and 260 meters of air route (19 km/h) [1]. Orvillesaid later about it, it was the first time in history that “a machine with humans had risen by its own Kraft in the free flight into air, in more horizontal clear had forward flown and had finally landed to become without to the wreck.”The Kitty Hawk measured 12.3 m in the span, 6.4 m in the length and 2.8 m in the height, it consisted of wood and a fabric covering, their flying weight amounted to 340 kg and the pilot lay invariably on the lower bearing area.


in the years1904 and 1905 perfected the brothers their apparatus, whereby they accomplished alone 1904 nevertheless 105 of flights and set up always new records. For this they used the Huffman Prairie, a cow pasture east of Dayton as airfield, whereby them a catapult system with 700 kg drop weight toStart used, in order to adjust the missing wind in this region. The area is today a component of the WRIGHT Patterson air Force cousin. In particular succeeded to 20. September 1904 the first circle flight, that means, the apparatus landed again at the starting point. To 4. October 1905 gel and inDayton with 33 min 17 s first powered flight over a half hour. All these data knew the experts and the public starting from that 04. September 1908 the diaries of the WRIGHTs infer. Some specialists like the Americans Archdeacon, Voisin and Captain Ferber, those already since1905 exchanges of letters with the WRIGHTs led, doubted however their data. To 8. August 1908 led Wilbur WRIGHT its first public powered flight in Le Mans with the French engine “Barriquand et Marre” forwards. These 30 HP the brothers WRIGHTs acquired strong engine 1907 with theirAttendance in France. Before the Brazilian Alberto Santos Dumont completed scarcely 2 years to 12. November 1906 with the “Bird OF Prey”, first authenticated and public powered flight. After 10 weeks mockery and breakdowns since at the end of of May 1908 in France was their own flight for thoseWRIGHT a satisfaction. Wilbur WRIGHT flew contrary to its earlier flights with a pure wing double-decker airplane, which the brothers WRIGHTs since always 1900 again far developed, for the first time additionally with a longitudinal body, to whose end a small pair of double-decker wings (today Einfachdecker) was appropriate. This innovation had AlbertoSantos Dumont 1906/1907 beside its relatively strong engine and the improved propeller form for the first time during its flights shown in France. Thus the WRIGHTs could improve their past unstable powered flights.

Starting from 1905 were also European pioneers of powered flight: To 18. March 1906 created Traian Vuia inFrance 12 a m-jump, to 12. September 1906 the Dane Jacob Christian Hansen Ellehammer on the island Lindholm such with 40 m width. The first cross-country flight found to 30. October 1908 instead of, Henri Farman flew 20 km von Bouy to 27 min after Reims. Orville and Wilbur strengthened thereupon their efforts.

Demonstrations and acknowledgment

around its patent laws to protect, permitted the WRIGHTs during its early flights only few eye-witnesses. They documented however the first steps of the motorized flight and other details of that time also over 300taken up photographies. Still 1907 went Wilbur not only without flight apparatus, but also without any construction plans to France, in order to collect information about powered flights in Europe and to acquire a suitable engine.

Only the year 1908 brought acknowledgment, both in the USA as well as inEurope: To 9. September 1908 took place in away Myer (Virginia) in the context of a demonstration for US Army the first flight over one hour, to 12. September such with officer, thus double loading over 9 min. 5 days later it came therea crash from 30 m height, whereby the along-flying officer Thomas Selfridge came to death and Orville WRIGHT tightened itself a complicated head german type. Orville demonstrated the airplane on a European journey, there reached it to 18. December 1908 on the troop exercise area Anvours with Paris for the first timeover 100 m height, the 2 h 20 min flying time placed likewise a world record there. To 31. December brought in a 1 h 9 min in air aircraft passenger held the Michelin price endowed with 20.000 francs for the WRIGHTs.

In the following the brothers WRIGHTs experienced yearnumerous honours, among them to 6. March the honour graduation of the TH Munich and in June the honour medals of the city Dayton, the State of Ohio and the government of the USA. Invited by the publisher Scherl led the restored Orville of 4. up to 18. September on the Tempelhofer fieldin Berlin looking flights through, with which it once 172 m height reached and another time a passenger 1 h 35 min in air could hold. Large attention excited also Wilburs orbiting the New Yorker liberty statue.

Wilbur died already in the spring on 1912 Typhoid fever, Orville continued to work up to its death in the aviation research, without however a renewed invention with world-wide acknowledgment succeeded to it. The first power plane, the Flyer, possessed the Science museum London from 1928 to 1948, before it in national the airand space museum arrived. The Flyer is called today also Flyer 1 or Kitty Hawk.

First powered flight

Wilbur nach einem missglückten Flugversuch
Wilbur after a flight test during

it before 1903 flight apparatuses the design, failed, had already not succeeded “more heavily than air” to separate from the soil to had ofthem a free, steered flight to accomplish know.

  • Clément vein led to 12. and to 15.10.1897 several uncontrolled flights through, with which its flight apparatus was destroyed and as their result the financial promotions by the French military was adjusted.
  • Smelling pool of broadcasting corporations Pearse has possibly 1903 a uncontrolledFlight accomplished, even however never stressed to have flown.
  • Arrive to Karl Jatho in August 1903 some uncontrolled flights
  • Samuel Pierpont Langleys of flight tests with the Aerodrome failed, Langley had an accident 1903 heavily.

The control system of the airplane over three axles, invented by the brothers WRIGHT, was an innovativeInvention and the condition for steered powered flight. They used bearing areas of variable curvature, (bearing area twisting), in order to roll the machine around the longitudinal axis, elevators for the controlling angles of incidence and a rudder for craving. On the same principles today the aircraft construction is based until.

The outstanding achievement of the brothers WRIGHTs consisted of as first an airplane to have built with more successfully, more continuously, steered powered flight possible was, and this powered flight to have also accomplished. Beyond that they documented their flights in every detail, so that no doubts overthe truth of their statements exists, and within short time in further flights the fitness of their airplane free of doubts proved. It is of outstanding importance that Orville could already fly 1904 with the WRIGHT Flyer a steered complete circle. The publication of their flights accomplished from 1903 to 1905 took placein September 1908.

Preceding ones “flights” of other aviation pioneers ended with crashes or were uncontrolled hops, if not even each proof for actual execution were missing. Above all it had created, through nobody however before the brothers WRIGHTs on the first flight the following flights of larger width andto prove with recognizable controllability the usefulness of its flight machine free of doubts. None of the “flights” of competitors of the WRIGHTs, among other things William Kress and Gustav white head (both 1901) or Lyman Gilmor (May 1902), flowed in the invention of a practically useful airplane.

See also: Aviation, Flight pioneer


  • Andreas Venzke: Pioneers of the sky - the brothers WRIGHTs. A Biografie. Kind-badly & Winkler. Duesseldorf and Zürich 2002
  • Wilbur and Orville WRIGHT, the invention of flying; in: Adam, Flug, Leipzig, 1908
  • Alfreds Hildebrandt: The brothers WRIGHT, a study of the development thatFlight machine from Lilienthal to WRIGHT, Berlin 1909

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