The Wright Brothers

December 17, 2007
by findingDulcinea Staff
Wilbur and Orville Wright were brothers who tirelessly worked to create a working flying machine. The former bicycle shop owners were rewarded in 1903 when they constructed and successfully flew the Wright flyer. With this momentous event, the two brothers ushered in the age of human flight.

Bicycle Shop Beginnings

Visit this online museum exhibit to learn how Wilbur and Orville’s childhood influenced their later careers, read about their business beginnings with the Wright Cycle shop, and discover how the two brothers ultimately created the world’s first airplane. This site also has a very clear and comprehensive chronology of the Wright Brothers’ lives.
The Wright House museum has an extensive archive of the original manuscripts and notes of Wilbur and Orville Wright. This quirky Web site is run by the estate of Frank Lloyd Wright and is devoted to famous Wrights in general, regardless of their relationship to the famous architect.
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum offers online access to the Wright Brothers exhibition, which includes many historic photographs, cultural artifacts, instruments, and personal items associated with the Wrights.
The National Park Service maintains a Wright Brothers Memorial near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, home to the first successful human flight.

First Flight: December 17, 1903

How We Made the First Flight” is an article written by Orville Wright. The text describes the exact research and experiments that led to the success of their 1903 flight.
The Franklin Institute provides amazing film footage of the flight of a 1911 Wright flyer.

Read it, See it

Newbery Award-winning author Russell Freedman wrote a biography, The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane.
The First Flight Society hosts a gallery of photos that documents the life of the Wright Brothers from childhood to airborne success.
The Library of Congress maintains a collection of photographs taken by the Wright Brothers. Viewing these images allows a glimpse into the process of inventing the first successful flying machine.

Science: Flying can be such a “drag”

Learn what the flight terms “lift” and “drag” mean, explore the interactive flight simulator, and read about the Wright Brothers’ early experiments with bicycles.
The PBS show Nova is chock-full of interactive material on the Wright Brothers and flight. Click on an illustrated image to discover the techniques for piloting the 1903 Wright flyer and then view a collection of photos taken during the reconstruction of original Wright Brothers aircraft.
NASA provides links to simulations of flight on various aircraft and interactive tools that illustrate the principles of the science of flight. The site offers both computer models and physical models. Use the interactive computer models to learn what makes a plane fly and how it stays aloft. Then, look at images of physical models and learn where to see them in person.
A New York Times article explores man’s never-ending quest to take to the sky. Recently, adventure-seekers from around the world have begun experimenting with “wing suits” which would allow them to soar from planes and high buildings without the need of a parachute.

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