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The Wright Flyer (also known as the Kitty Hawk, Flyer I or the 1903 Flyer) made the first sustained flight by a manned heavier-than-air powered and controlled aircraft—an airplane—on December 17, 1903. Invented and flown by brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright, it marked the beginning of the pioneer era of aviation.
|Seconds into the first airplane flight, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903|
Type of aircraft
|National origin||United States|
|Manufacturer||Wright Cycle Company|
|Designer||Orville and Wilbur Wright|
|Developed from||Wright Glider|
|Developed into||Wright Flyer II |
Wright Flyer III
|Other name(s)||Kitty Hawk, Flyer I, 1903 Flyer|
|First flight||December 17, 1903, 119 years ago|
|Owners and operators||Wright Brothers|
|Last flight||December 17, 1903|
|Status||Preserved and displayed at the National Air and Space Museum|
The aircraft is a single-place biplane design with anhedral (drooping) wings, front elevator (a canard) and rear rudder. It used a 12 horsepower (9 kilowatts) gasoline engine powering two pusher propellers. Employing 'wing warping' it was relatively unstable and very difficult to fly.
The Wright brothers flew it four times in a location now part of the town of Kill Devil Hills, about 4 miles (6 kilometers) south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The airplane flew 852 ft (260 m) on its fourth and final flight, but was damaged on landing, and minutes later powerful gusts blew it over, wrecking it.
The aircraft never flew again but was shipped home and subsequently restored by Orville. The aircraft was initially displayed in a place of honor at the London Science Museum until 1948 when the resolution of an acrimonious priority dispute finally allowed it to be displayed in the Smithsonian. It is now exhibited in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.