Wright Brothers flight, 1908

In 1903, Americans Orville and Wilbur Wright completed the world’s first successful controlled powered flight at Kill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. This British Pathé film clip shows the Wright Brothers flying in 1908.


On Thursday December the 17th 1903, news came clattering across the world’s wire machines that two brothers from Dayton in Ohio had flown a curious looking air machine over the beach at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina for more than a minute (sic); and if anyone was sceptical about the claim, these pictures were to prove it was true.

For several years at the turn of the century, dozens of groups in Europe and America had been trying to get a flying machine to work. But defying gravity wasn’t proving easy. Nevertheless, Wilbur and Orville Wright, after a long period of trial and error, found a formula that seemed to work. The problem they and everyone else had faced was how to generate enough power to get the machine off the ground and to keep it going once it was up in a stable and steady flight. The Wrights had developed a lightweight 25-horsepower engine which provided a much higher power to weight ratio than anything that had gone before. With this, and a little help on the launch site from a heavy lead weight*, they were airborne and away.

This dramatically successful flight was the result of several years of secret work by the Wrights using models in a wind tunnel near their home. Only the most far-sighted and enthusiastic believed at the time that what the brothers were doing would have any lasting significance. But what they’d just witnessed was the start of a transport revolution. From now on, the world was to become, in many ways, a much smaller place.

*The catapult technique was not used for the flights of 17 December 1903. On that occasion their aeroplane left the ground under its own power. The longest of the four flights that day was a shade under a minute, at 59 seconds.

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7 comments have been posted about Wright Brothers flight, 1908

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Posted: 19 Apr 2021

The first fkying pkane was ran was fkued by an indian person Shivkar Talpade in 1895. Britishers have stolen that. Not the wright brothers


Posted: 31 Oct 2020

Peculiar that the article describes the catapult technique if it wasn't used..


Posted: 10 Mar 2020

Read this free book: " The Wright brothers’ patents and their low importance for aviation " (see: http://wright1903dec17.altervista.org/Wright-patents.htm ). The 5 patents of the two American inventors have nothing to do with powered airplanes. They are about gliders and are not original. The brothers invented nothing. One of them, filed in Feb. 1908, is a pure fallacy from the beginning to the end. Wilbur and Orville wrongly believed a glider could be stabilized in roll with a pendulum and in pitch with an Angle of Attack vane!! The Wright brothers showed only gliders before August 8, 1908, and the alleged picture with the December 17, 1903, airplane in flight was published late, in September 1908. together with other photos pretended as taken in 1904 and 1905. There is no evidence about any working Wright airplane before August 1908.


Posted: 21 Jan 2020

It's time to face facts. Wright Brothers weren't the first. Whitehead beat them to it by two years. Wright Brothers just had better documentation and funding. Whitehead's flights had eye witnesses and made the local paper. With at least one photograph taken. That really is enough. The Smithsonian went along with the lie since they didn't want to loose the Wright's glider which they had at one point when they decided to give credit to Langley.

It's time to give up this Wright Brothers claim and give credit where it rightly belongs. We were taught a lie. There were flights before Wright Brothers and applying what we accept as controlled flight Whitehead has the best claim as first to fly.