The First Airplane


Orville and Wilbur Wright, usually known as the Wright brothers, are the inventors of the airplane.  On December 17, 1903, the two American brothers flew the first airplane.  Their story is very interesting.

The Wright brothers grew up in a large family in the city of Dayton, Ohio.  One day, their father brought home a toy helicopter, which he gave to Orville and Wilbur.  The two boys played with it until it broke.  Afterwards, they built their own toy helicopter.  Both men later claimed that it made them interested in flying.

When they grew up, Wilbur and Orville started a newspaper and a bicycle repair shop.  They used the money to build a flying machine.  The Wright brothers’ design was based on kites and hang gliders.  It wasn’t perfect but kites and hang gliders were the only reliable flying models available at the time.  After many tests, they figured out that their flying machine needed a complex control system.  They worked to improve the design and in 1903, the brothers built the “Wright Flyer I”.  On December 17th, the brothers took their flying machine to a small town called Kitty Hawk.  It took off and climbed to an altitude of 37 meters.  The flight was only 12 seconds and the Flyer I’s speed was only about 11 kilometers per hour (km/h).

After their first successful flight, the brothers kept trying to improve the flying machine.  There were many reporters from different newspapers who wanted to talk to the brothers and photograph them.  Wilbur and Orville were unhappy with the attention and they were worried that other people might try to steal their airplane designs.  They secretly tested their airplane and took their own photographs of the test flights.  Because of this secrecy, many newspapers did not believe the Wright brothers’ success.  Finally, the Wright brothers demonstrated their flying machine both in France and for the United States’ Army and they became famous around the world.