The Motorized Flight

The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers' Motivation

On August 10, 1894, Otto Lilienthal, German engineer and aviation pioneer, died from injuries suffered in a crash while testing his latest glider. The tragedy hightened the Wright brothers' interest in Lilienthal's work and the problem of human flight. While still running their bicycle business, Wilbur and Orville studied the problems of mechanical and human flight. The Wright Brothers read everything they could about bird flight, and Otto Lilienthal's work, the brothers became convinced that human flight was possible and decide to conduct some experiments of their own.

How it Works

Every successful aircraft ever built since, beginning with the 1902 Wright glider, has had controls to roll the wings right or left, pitch the nose up or down, and yaw the nose from side to side. These three controls -- roll, pitch, and yaw -- let a pilot navigate an airplane in all three dimensions, making it possible to fly from place to place.

How Their Life Changed

After the Wright Brothers first flight, they completely devoted their lives to work on advancing their plane design until they built the first practical airplane in 1905. They then turned their attention to securing their patent and seeking a customer for their invention.

The Wright Brother's Patent

The Wright Brothers patented their control system and offered their plane to the U.S. War Department. They did not, however, begin to exhibit their aircraft publicly until 1908 when they undertook a promotional tour of the United States and Europe.