FIRST AIRPLANE

PRECIOUS G

Orville and Wilbur Wright

BornOrville: (1871-08-19)August 19, 1871, Dayton, Ohio
Wilbur: (1867-04-16)April 16, 1867, Millville, Indiana

DiedOrville: January 30, 1948(1948-01-30) (aged 76), Dayton
Wilbur: May 30, 1912(1912-05-30) (aged 45), Dayton

EthnicityGerman, Dutch, English, Swiss

EducationOrville 3 years high school; Wilbur 4 years

Occupation

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first airplane

The Wrights based the design of their kite and full-size gliders on work done in the 1890s by other aviation pioneers. They adopted the basic design of the Chanute-Herring biplane hang glider ("double-decker" as the Wrights called it), which flew well in the 1896 experiments near Chicago, and used aeronautical data on lift that Lilienthal had published. The Wrights designed the wings with camber, a curvature of the top surface. The brothers did not discover this principle, but took advantage of it. The better lift of a cambered surface compared to a flat one was first discussed scientifically by Sir George Cayley. Lilienthal, whose work the Wrights carefully studied, used cambered wings in his gliders, proving in flight the advantage over flat surfaces. The wooden uprights between the wings of the Wright glider were braced by wires in their own version of Chanute's modified Pratt truss, a bridge-building design he used for his biplane glider (initially built as a triplane). The Wrights mounted the horizontal elevator in front of the wings rather than behind, apparently believing this feature would help to avoid, or protect them, from a nosedive and crash like the one that killed Lilienthal.[35] Wilbur incorrectly believed a tail was not necessary,[36] and their first two gliders did not have one. According to some Wright biographers, Wilbur probably did all the gliding until 1902, perhaps to exercise his authority as older brother and to protect Orville from harm as he did not want to have to explain to Bishop Wright if Orville got injur