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12 Interesting Facts About Wright Brothers For Kids & Parents

The renowned Wright brothers created the first airplane. On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright, born on August 19 and April 16, respectively, designed, constructed, and took the first powered, controllable, heavier-than-air aircraft to the skies. Therefore permanently altering global trade, welfare, and travel.

Wright Brothers

Before their first powered flight, they had been experimenting with gliders and other vehicles. They are also renowned for creating the best method of aircraft steering. Their first test flight took place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, after the aircraft was designed in Dayton, Ohio.

Interesting Fun facts about the Wright brothers 

1. Childhood of Wright brothers before building airplanes.

Image Source – https://www.loc.gov/resource/ppprs.00676/

The Wrights were a minister’s sons. They traveled much as kids and grew up in Dayton, Ohio. Sarah, their mother, produced toys and had a strong mechanical inclination. The Wright brothers frequently talked to their mother as they developed their machines, 

Their parents encouraged them to ask questions and learn more about everything they found fascinating, and they had a large library at home. Both of them graduated from high school, but neither attended college.

2. Wright Brothers understand how to control the airplane’s movements

The Wright brothers’ experience with riding, repairing, and building bicycles helped them solve a critical problem in early flight. They were the first inventors to understand that, like a bike, they must constantly control the airplane’s movement on three parameters—horizontal, vertical, and lateral. 

3. The Wright Brothers always wanted more.

The Wright brothers, who built and sold bicycles in their shop, wanted more. The highly trained engineers and scientists worldwide were building the first airplane. But so far, they have failed.

The brother’s first step was to create a flying machine with no engine – a glider.

The Wright brothers used their experience building and repairing bicycles to test different frames and over 200 designs for the glider wings, but nothing worked for a long time.

The brothers could not maintain control of the test gliders, so they soared into the air until one day, when the Wright brothers invented control surfaces that would work in the air.

They built wings that could be twisted and moved up and down slightly to control flight. They called this steering system wing-warping.

4. Heads or tails-who would take the flight first?

Heads or tails

The Wright brothers decided who would fly first with a coin toss. The lucky winner of the coin toss was Orville! Furthermore, the two brothers only flew together on an airplane once. They took a six-minute flight piloted by Orville with Wilbur as his passenger.

On that same day, Orville took his 82-year-old father, Milton, on a seven-minute flight. They flew at the height of about 350 feet.

5. Orville and Wilbur started a newspaper printing business.

Printing was one of Orville’s hobbies as a youngster. The Wright brothers learned about printing from their father, who edited a religious newspaper.

In 1889, Orville and Wilbur started a newspaper printing business. They did job-printing and published several short-lived local newspapers. One of the newspapers they printed, The Tattler, was for the African-American community in Dayton, Ohio.The newspaper was not entirely successful, and in 1892 the brothers opened a shop selling and repairing bicycles.

6. What sparked the Wright Brother’s interest in flying machines?

Wright Brother’s

The Wright brothers developed an early interest in aviation. The boys’ father gave them a rubber band-driven helicopter in 1878 that was built of paper, bamboo, and cork.

The brothers started creating their paper helicopters after being fascinated by the toy and its mechanics. They improved the original design while also learning the fundamentals of aviation. Their passion in aviation was sparked by a toy.

7. Kitty Hawk – the perfect place for their experiments.

In 1900, the Wright brothers began flight experiments with gliders in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The ocean dunes at Kitty Hawk had steady, solid winds and steady beaches for a softer landing.

The brothers first conducted tests with kites before experimenting with gliders. Both Orville and Wilbur separately piloted the gliders during their testing process.

8. The Wright Brothers built a six-foot Wind Tunnel to lift wings.

The Wright brothers built a wind tunnel for model airplanes and tested dozens of different wing shapes to test how well different wing shapes would lift an airplane.

Their hard work paid off. The glider the brothers tested in 1902 performed better than the earlier models. They added a movable ladder, dramatically improving their ability to steer and control the glider. After 100 successful flights, they were sure to build powered aircraft.

9. On Dec. 17, 1903, the brothers successfully launched the world’s first airplane.

 brothers successfully launched the world’s first airplane

The Wright brothers successfully built the Wright Flyer I, the first airplane in history.

It was cast mainly from lightweight aluminum and comprised propellers and gasoline engines. It was the first motorized and controlled flying contraption capable of supporting human weight. This concept led to the creation of the modern airplane.

10. Wilbur died of disease on May 30, 1912, in Dayton 

At the age of 45, Wilbur passed away in Dayton on May 30, 1912. Both brothers never got married and never had kids. One claimed to have no time for both his wife and an airplane.

11. In 1915, Oliver sold the Wright company.

After Wilbur’s death, Orville ran the Wright Company. In 1915 Oliver sold the Wright company: he retired from piloting and spinning for the next few decades serving on boards and committees such as the National Advisory Co for aeronautics and the aeronautical chamber of commerce. He continued to work as an inventor. On January 30, 1948, Orville died of a heart attack in Dayton.

12. In 1908, the Wright Brothers gained worldwide popularity.

In 1908, the Wright Brothers publicly demonstrated their airplanes in Washington DC and France and immediately gained worldwide fame.

They bagan to build and sell airplanes creating a business called the Wright company.

They sold airplanes to the U.S. Army,  started a flying school, and even made the first air cargo delivery in history.

Final Thoughts

The Wright Brothers are the first people that come to mind today when we consider aviation history. Through creativity, grit, and years of study and testing, they realized the long-held dream of human flight.

In Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Wilbur, and Orville Wright created aviation history when they piloted the first motorized, heavier-than-air “flying machine.”

The two brothers were close throughout their lives and shared invention credit for their success.