Wright, Orville

& Wilbur

Aviation Pioneers




History's most celebrated aviation pioneers Orville (1871-1948) and Wilbur (1867-1912) Wright are renowned for piloting the first sustained and controlled flight on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Ohio-born brothers began as bicycle-makers and moved on to building gliders. In large part they created for themselves a complete course in aviation and made many noteworthy discoveries. Perhaps the most significant was the use of the aileron, an airfoil device that the pilot uses to control the roll of the plane. By 1905, they had demonstrated an amazing flight of 24 miles. Wilbur died from typhoid in 1912; three years later his brother sold their American Wright Company to devote himself to research. In 1948, their original plane was put on permanent display in the Smithsonian Institution.