Wright Brothers First Flight in 1903


Wright Brothers and Airplane
Wright Brothers and Airplane, The Minneapolis Journal, Saturday Evening, January 2, 1904, Section III, Page 4.


Norfolk, Va. – Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, successfully navigated their flying machine in the teeth of a twenty-one-mile gale at Kitty Hawk, on the coast of North Carolina. (The Minneapolis Journal, Friday Evening, December 18, 1903, Page 11)

Flying Machine Proves Success. Made by Wright Brothers of Dayton, Ohio – Sails Three Miles in Strong Gale. Speeds Equal to Eight Miles an Hour and Mechanism Under Perfect Control. Norfolk, Va., Dec. 18. – The problem of aerial flight without use of a balloon has been solved by Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio. On the coast of North Carolina yesterday they successfully navigated a flying machine of their own invention for three miles in the teeth of a twenty-one-mile gale and, picking their point of descent, easily landed the machine there. The first mile was covered and then Orville Wright declared the invention was a success, but it was not until the third had been accomplished that the inventor cast his eyes about for a suitable landing place, found it, and with his invention under the most perfect control, slowly neared the earth and let his machine alight as easily and gracefully as a bird. Preparatory to its flight the machine was placed upon a platform which was built on a high sand hill near Kitty Hawk. When all was in readiness the fastenings to the machine were released and it started down an incline. The navigator, Wilbur Wright, then started a small gasoline engine in the floor of the car, which worked the propellers. When the end of the incline was reached the machine gradually arose until it obtained an altitude of sixty feet and maintained an even speed of eight miles an hour. The idea of a box kite has been adhered to in the basic formation of the flying machine. A huge frame-work of light timbers 33 feet wide, 5 feet across the top forms the machine proper. This is covered with a tough, but light canvas. There are two six-blade propellers, one arranged just below the frame so as to exert an upward force when in motion and the other extends horizontally to the rear from the center of the car, furnishing the forward impetus. Protruding from the center of the car is a huge fan-shaped rudder of canvas, stretched upon a frame of wood. This rudder is controlled by the navigator and may be moved to each side, raised or lowered. (The Minneapolis Journal, Friday Evening, December 18, 1903, Page 1)

Kites Worked Well. Inventors of Dirigible Kites Say They Will Give a Public Exhibition Shortly. New York Sun Special Service. Norfolk, Va., Dec. 23. – Orville and Wilbur Wright, the inventors of the dirigible kite, passed thru here tonight on their way to Dayton, Ohio. They assert that they have made several successful trials of their kite in three weeks, and that they will give a public exhibition at home. The trials were made at Kitty Hawk, on the North Carolina coast, of suitable atmospheric conditions on tide water and because of the high sand dunes, on the incline of which the machine slides down until it gains velocity sufficient to be forced thru the air by its own gasoline motor-propeller. The Wrights declare that their flyer maintained a height of twenty feet above the surface and traveled at the will of the man inside the box in all directions, even against a strong wind, within a radius of half a mile. The Wrights are confident of the success of their invention. (The Minneapolis Journal, Wednesday Evening, December 23, 1903, Page 13)

The Successful Boy Airship Inventors Are The Sons of Bishop Wright of Ohio. Cincinnati Enquirer. Dayton, Ohio, Dec. 19. – Bishop Milton Wright of this city, a high ecclesiastic in the councils of the United Brethren church, received a telegram this week from his sons, Wilbur and Orville Wright, who are at Kitty Hawk, N. C., experimenting with the aeroplane of their own make and regulated by devices of their own invention. The telegram says that they have achieved gratifying success. “The Wright Flyer,” as they call the machine, is a double-decked, curved aeroplane, driven by a small, but powerful gasoline motor, with aerial screw propellers. The telegram says that the speed was at the rate of thirty-one miles an hour, meaning that they moved at the rate of ten miles an hour against a twenty-one-mile-an-hour wind.

What the Flyer Is. The “Wright Flyer” is distinctly a flying machine. It has no gas bag or balloon attachments of any kind, but is supported by a pair of aero-curves, or wings, having an area of 510 square feet. It measures a little more than 40 feet from tip to tip, and the extreme fore and aft dimension is about 20 feet. The weight, including the body of the aviator, is slightly over 700 pounds. The machine is driven by a pair of aerial screw propellers placed just behind the main wings. The power is supplied by a gasoline motor. It is of the four-cycle type and has four cylinders. The pistons are four inches in diameter and have a four-inch stroke. At the speed of 1,200 revolutions a minute the engine develops sixteen-brake horse power, with a consumption of a little less than ten pounds of gasoline per hour. The weight, including carburetor and fly-wheel, is 152 pounds. The wings, tho apparently very light, have been tested to more than six times the regular load, and it is claimed for the entire structure that it is a practical machine, capable of withstanding the shock of repeated landings, and not a mere toy which must be entirely rebuilt after each flight. The invention is the joint work of the Wright brothers. The Wright brothers have been engaged in the cycle business in this city for several years and have conducted experiments with their flying machine for the past four years in North Carolina, where they went for a couple of months each winter, combining experimental work with pleasure. They have met with varied success and believe they will yet completely master the problem of aerial navigation.

Admirable Location. The Wright brothers selected Kitty Hawk on the North Carolina coast as a place to conduct their experiments, primarily because of the privacy it offered and because of the existence of a hill of sand just the right height and location from which to launch their invention. The sand hill referred to is known as Kill Devil Hill. It is over 100 feet high and perhaps the highest dune on the Atlantic seaboard. From one side it slopes gradually to its summit. It was in the autumn of 1900 that they located there and began work on their flying machine. They fitted a workshop with tools and machinery shipped to them from various parts of the country, but primarily from Dayton.

Their First Flight. One day in the autumn of 1901 the two brought a frail structure from their shop made of wings and tails and fins of a silken cloth. They carried this machine to the eastern slope of Kill Devil Hill. At the top of the hill the machine was placed in position and one of the boys stepped inside. The other one gave it a push off the hill summit. For a distance of 300 feet it glided like a bird and then settled slowly to the ground. The natives were amazed and the inventors were jubilant. It was not a flying machine they were experimenting with then. It was simply an aeroplane, or what was to be the body of the airship proper. The aeroplane was taken back to the shop and stored away and the inventors returned home. The next fall they appeared again, and after weeks of work brought forth another aeroplane, which, when launched from Kill Devil Hill, not only sustained the weight of its operator in midair, but sailed along with the wind for a distance of an eighth of a mile. Early this fall they returned to Kitty Hawk and renewed their work. When they brought forth their invention this year a gasoline engine had been installed with it and the first really successful flight was made. The brothers will offer their services and invention to the United States government, it is understood. It has been further stated that the government has already been in communication with them and that when they return in January to Kitty Hawk, government officials will witness a trip of the aeroplane. (The Minneapolis Journal, Saturday Evening, January 2, 1904, Section III, Page 4)


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