The Wright Brothers

The Life of Orville and Wilbur Wright

The Wright brothers are known for building the first aircraft with an engine. Most people think the Wright brothers invented the airplane, but they are wrong. The brothers just improved it. That isn't the only thing they improved, they also enhanced kites. The brothers built their own bicycles called "The Wright Special" and their own company. It was very successful!

Early Brotherhood

Wilbur was born on April 16, 1867 in Millville, Indiana. Orville was born on August 19, 1871 in Dayton, Ohio. When they were young, their father gave them a toy helicopter. It wasn't like the toys we have today. Many times, Orville would try to recreate it. They had two older brothers, Reuchlin and Lorin. They also had a younger sister, Katherine. Their parents wanted the Wright children to be creative. Also, their parents let them take time off from school if they felt like they would learn something. The Wright brothers started their own company called The Wright Cycle Company. They repaired and made their own bicycles called "The Wright Special" and they costed 18 dollars each. They were very cheap!

The Wright Flyer

The Wright Flyer was the first aircraft with an engine. The engine was homemade and it was built mostly out of bicycle parts from The Wright Cycle Company. It weighed about 600 pounds without a pilot and its length was about 20 ft. The airplane's height was 9 ft. and its wingspan was almost 40 ft. It took a few attempts to get the plane to fly, but the day came. Wilbur won the coin-toss to fly the aircraft first. Wilbur stayed in the air for 6 seconds and Orville stayed in the air for 12 seconds.


Sometimes, Wilbur would have thought about giving up, but Orville was a jolly person so he wouldn't let that happen. One of Orville's achievements was that he was very creative and had many ideas. One of Wilbur's achievements was that he made Orville's ideas possible. Another achievement is that they improved kites. They had a little bit of wood so they made each part of the kite thinner. Since it was thin, it was weak so the wind pushed it into a parachute-like structure.

Their Death

Orville died on January 30, 1948 at the age 77. Wilbur died May 30, 1912 at age 45. They both died in Dayton, Ohio. Orville died of a heart attack and Wilbur died of typhoid. After Wilbur died, Orville sold the Wright Flyer. Today, the Wright Flyer is in a museum in Washington D.C. I hope you learned more about the Wright brothers and the Wright Flyer.