On December 17, 1903, two brothers from Dayton, Ohio, with no formal engineering training defied gravity in their curious flying machine over the dunes of North Carolina’s remote Outer Banks. By making what many consider the first powered, sustained and controlled manned airplane flights, Orville and Wilbur Wright ushered in the era of flight and soared into history.
They Tossed a coin to decide who will fly First.
The brothers tossed a coin to see who would first test the Plane. Older brother Wilbur won the toss and fly the plane, but unfortunately, his first attempt on December 14, 1903, was unsuccessful and caused minor damage to the aircraft. Three days later, Orville, lay flat on his stomach on the plane’s lower wing and took the controls. at 10:35 a.m., the Wright Flyer moved down the guiding rail with Wilbur running alongside to balance the delicate machine. For 12 seconds, the aircraft left the ground before touching down 120 feet away in the soft sands. The brothers exchanged turns at the controls three more times that day, and each flight covered an increasing distance with Wilbur’s final flight lasting nearly a minute and covering a distance of 852 feet.
Neither brother received a high school diploma.
Wilbur finished four years of high school, but because the family moved from Richmond, IN, to Dayton, OH, before he could receive his diploma certificate. Orville, although intellectually curious, dropped out of high school before his senior year to launch a printing business.
The Wright brothers once printed a daily newspaper together.
Wilbur eventually joined Orville’s printing business, and in 1889 the brothers began to publish a weekly newspaper, the West Side News. The following year, they published a short-lived daily newspaper, The Evening Item. In 1892 they switched gears and opened the Wright Cycle Company, a successful bicycle repair and sales shop that financed their flying experiments.
The brothers never married.
The tight-knit brothers, born four years apart, were wedded to their work; Wilbur told reporters that he didn’t have time for both a wife and an airplane.
After the first day in the air, Wright Flyer never flew again.
The brothers made four flights in the Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903, and as Orville and Wilbur stood discussing the final flight, a sudden strong gust of wind caught hold of the aircraft and flipped it several times. The aircraft sustained such heavy damage to its ribs, motor and chain guides that it was beyond repair. The Wright Flyer was crated back to Dayton and never flew again.
Orville was involved in the first fatal aviation accident.
After their success in 1903, the Wright brothers continued their aircraft development. They marketed their two-passenger Wright Military Flyer to the U.S. Army, which required a demonstration. Orville took to the air for a demonstration flight at Fort Myer, Virginia, with Army Signal Corps Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge as a passenger on September 17, 1908. Just a few minutes into the flight, the aircraft spiraled out of control and it smashed into the ground at full speed. Rescuers pulled an unconscious Selfridge from the wreckage, and the lieutenant died hours later. Orville was hospitalized for six weeks after suffering a broken leg, four broken ribs and a back injury that impaired him for the rest of his life.
Neil Armstrong carried a piece of the Wright Flyer with him to the moon.
When Neil Armstrong, became the first man to step foot on the moon in 1969, He carried a piece of muslin fabric from the left wing of the original 1903 Wright Flyer along with a piece of wood from the airplane’s left propeller inside his spacesuit pocket. This was his tribute and respect towards the Wright Brothers and Flight Invention.
The Wright brothers flew together just one time.
Orville and Wilbur had promised their father, who feared to lose both sons in an airplane accident, they would never fly together. The father made a single exception, however, on May 25, 1910, and allowed the brothers to share a six-minute flight near Dayton with Orville piloting and Wilbur the passenger.