On Dec. 17, 1903, they made near Kitty Hawk, N.C., with its steady, moderate winds and long, soft beach, the first controlled, sustained flights in a power-driven airplane. Of their four flights on that day, the first, made by Orville, lasted 12 sec, and the fourth, by Wilbur, covered 852 ft (259 m) in 59 sec. The brothers continued their experiments at Dayton and built several biplanes. Record-breaking flights in 1908 by Orville in the United States and by Wilbur in France brought them worldwide fame. In 1909 the U.S. government accepted the Wright machine for army use, and the brothers established the Wright Company. The house where Orville was born and the bicycle-shop laboratory have been restored and were moved to Greenfield Village, Mich.
See their papers, ed. by M. W. McFarland (2 vol., 1953); C. P. Graves, The Wright Brothers (1973); P. Degan and L. Wescott, Wind and Sand (1983); F. Howard, Wilbur and Orville (1988); L. E. Tise, Conquering the Sky (2009); D. McCullough, The Wright Brothers (2015); bibliography ed. by A. G. Renstrom (1968).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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