the first airplane

Wilbur Wright

Wilbur was born in Millville, Indiana on April 16, 1867 (the middle child). Wilbur was a great student at Richmond High School in Indiana and was making plans to go to Yale university. However, all that was going to change in 1885 when he got hit in the face by another player with a hockey stick during a game and was badly injured. While his injuries were healing he was depressed, he didn't get his high school diploma, he canceled his college plans and he stayed at home reading and taking care of his sick mom. In the early 1900's, Wilbur worked with his brother Orville on building the first airplane and this made him wealthy and famous. He got ill on a trip to Boston,Mass in 1912, after he got diagnosed with typhoid fever and died on May 30th,1912 in Dayton, Ohio.

Orville Wright

Orville was born in Dayton, Ohio on August 19, 1871. He was one of five children of Susan Catherine Koerner and Milton Wright. In 1881, his family moved to Richmond and he found his love for kites and started making them at his house. In 1884, Orville went to Dayton Central High School and quit his senior year because he was more interested in outside hobbies than school. In the early 1900's, Orville worked with his brother Wilbur on building the first airplane and this made him wealthy and famous. On January 30th, 1948 Orville died from a second heart attack and he was buried in the Dayton, Ohio cemetery.

The First Airplane

The Wright Brothers researched the work of German aviator Otto Lilienthal and when he was killed in a crash, the brothers decided to build their own flyer. To be successful they went to Kitty Hawk, NC because it had strong winds. They worked on designing wings for the plane and used birds as their guide. When they added a rudder, they had their first successful flight in December 1903. Wilbur flew the plane for 59 seconds over a distance of 852 feet.

This invention was important to the Industrial Revolution because it showed the American people that human flight was possible. In just a few short decades after the Wright's first plane, planes were used for travel and war.

Today, the modern airplane is very important to our society. It is used for travel, war, business and to quickly move people and supplies to their destination faster than in a car. The airplane today looks much different than the first, as seen in the pictures above. The biggest difference is that the seats are inside the plane instead of the person laying down on the wings!