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Orville & Wilbur Wright

Inventors of the Airplane

Orville & Wilbur Wright

On December 17, 1903, a pair of inventors from Ohio named Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the world's first airplane. The invention, known as the Wright Flyer, took to the skies for 12 seconds, flying a distance of 120 feet. Though only five people were there to witness the flight, the invention would eventually become one of the most important of the twentieth century – one that would unite people throughout the United States and the world.

Inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright took a great interest in flight and invention from an early age. Running a successful bicycle business afforded the Wright brothers enough income to follow their dream of inventing a flying machine.

What began with the design and flight of kites, soon moved into gliders and then more elaborate aircraft inventions. Relying mostly on trial and error, the Wright brothers eventually designed a powered airplane with a 12-horsepower engine.

After their successful flight in Kitty Hawk, N.C. (an area chosen based on its weather patterns), Orville and Wilbur Wright went on to develop their invention into the first practical airplane. They obtained a patent in 1906, started their own business (the Wright Company) and began building and selling more sophisticated airplanes.

The Wright brothers' invention is so technically and culturally significant that the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., keeps the Wright Flyer on permanent display.

For more information on inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright and their airplane invention, please visit:

Time 100: The Wright Brothers

Inventors of the Week: Orville and Wilbur Wright

Wright Brothers & the Invention of the Aerial Age