First Airplane Flies

First Airplane Flies

Near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Americans Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. The Wright brothers, self-taught inventors from Dayton, Ohio, were bicycle manufacturers before they turned their attention to the possibilities of flight. Their first airplane, a double-winged biplane, had a wingspan of 39 feet, a 12-horsepower engine, and movable wing tips to control direction. Orville made the first flight, which lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. By 1909, Wright-designed planes were staying aloft for more than an hour at a time, and the brothers founded the Wright Company to meet widespread demand for their flying machines.