Orville Wright, along with his older brother Wilbur, is
credited with inventing and building the world's first
practical fixed-wing aircraft and making the first
controlled, powered and sustained flight more than a
hundred years ago.
The Wright brothers documented much of their early
progress in photographs made on glass negatives some of
which are presented here.
From left, Orville and Wilbur Wright, in portraits taken in 1905,
when they were 34 and 38 years old.
Wilbur Wright pilots a full-size glider down a steep slope
in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on October 10, 1902.
Orville Wright and Edwin H. Sines, neighbor and boyhood friend,
filing frames in the back of the Wright bicycle shop in 1897.
Side view of Dan Tate, left, and Wilbur Wright, right, flying the
1902 glider as a kite, on September 19, 1902.
Crumpled glider, wrecked by the wind, on Hill of the Wreck,
on October 10, 1900.
Wilbur in motion at left holding one end of glider (rebuilt with single vertical
rudder), Orville lying prone in machine, and Dan Tate at right, in Kitty Hawk,
North Carolina, on October 10, 1902.
Rear view of Wilbur making a right turn in glide from No. 2 Hill,
right wing tipped close to the ground, October 24, 1902.
The Wright Flyer I, built in 1903, front view. This machine was the Wright
brothers' first powered aircraft. The airplane sported two 8 foot wooden
propellers driven by a purpose-built 12 horsepower engine.
Wilbur Wright at the controls of the damaged Wright Flyer, on the
ground after an unsuccessful trial on December 14, 1903.
First flight: 120 feet in 12 seconds, on December 17, 1903. This photograph
shows man's first powered, controlled, sustained flight.
Wilbur and Orville Wright with their second powered machine
on Huffman Prairie, near Dayton, Ohio, in May of 1904.
Flight #41, Orville flying at a height of about 60 feet;
Huffman Prairie, Dayton, Ohio, September 29, 1905.
The remodeled 1905 Wright machine, altered to allow the operator to
assume a sitting position and to provide a seat for a passenger in 1908.
View of a Wright airplane, including the pilot and passenger seats, 1911.
Wilbur Wright makes a 33-minute-long flight in New York in 1909.
Siblings Orville Wright, Katharine Wright, and Wilbur Wright at Pau, France.
Miss Wright about to be taken for her first ride. February 15, 1909
Orville Wright during proving flights for the U.S. Army in July of 1909.
The Wright brothers were able to sell their airplane to the Army's
Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps.