Drawing of the Wright brothers' kite

October Surprise confirms the Wright brothers needed some control. And practice.

It was a hang glider crash. A fatal hang glider crash. It was an October lesson that confirmed how the brothers were going to approach flight. The death of British pioneer aviator Percy Pilcher in October of 1899 supported theories about controlled flight for the brothers. Pilcher had a workable wing design, but did not have a suitable system to control …

National Aviation Hall of Fame Medal

The Wright Brothers author David McCullough wins the NAHF Combs Gates Award

Wright story tellers keep the Wilbur and Orville’s epic story alive for new generations You know his voice. You’ve heard it on PBS—narrating history in The Civil War, hosting American Experience. You’ve heard it on the big screen in Seabiscuit. You’ve read his storytelling in Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-sellers Truman and John Adams. And you know his most recent work is the …

Aviation Day has something in common with french fries

Did you know that August 19 is National Aviation Day, and fast-food french fries are a better source of potassium than a banana? What?

We know what you’re thinking, and it’s true. August 19th is National Aviation Day. National Aviation Day is not a Federal national holiday, but rather an observance to celebrate the history of aviation. In 1939, President Roosevelt proclaimed National Aviation Day in celebration of the incredible history and growth of innovation of aviation in the United States. The day he …

Solar Impulse holds a model of Wright Brothers Flyer in Dayton

Did you know the Solar Brothers flew into Dayton, as tribute to the Wright Brothers?

The “Solar Brothers.” They are not a music duo. They aren’t even brothers. One is a visionary world explorer—and doctor. (There’s even a TV character named after his family.) The other, an aviator—piloting both helicopters and planes—a business man, and an entrepreneur. They are on a mission to change how the world uses energy. And they are inspired by Wilbur …

Statue of Harry Toulmin, the Wright brothers patent attorney

Did you know that U.S. Patent No. 821,393 was for how an airplane flies?

On Main Street in downtown Springfield, Ohio, there’s an eight-foot-tall statue of Harry Toulmin, a patent attorney. Toulmin shaped the first successful patent for the Wright brothers. Toulmin’s greatest contribution to the Wright brothers was how the patent should be crafted. The patent covered the control system of the 1902 glider involving the simultaneous use of wing-warping and rudder to …

Wright brothers' patent found in a cave

Did you know the Wright brothers’ patent was found in a cave?

It’s famous; a document so historic, it was supposed to be in the National Archives. But the Wright brothers original 1906 patent that gave them sole claim not only to a flying machine, but to the only system devised for in-air control of a flying machine, was missing. For thirty-six years. On March 22, 2016, the patent was found in …

Did you know that Orville Wright helped create a Bombe?

Did you know that Orville Wright helped build a Bombe? (No foolin’.)

Now, we know what you’re thinking. We didn’t misspell the headline. Orville Wright, during the Second World War, aided a team working at the National Cash Register company in the design, development, and construction of a massive electrically-powered coding machine that would be used to break the communication codes used by Germany during WWII, and to generate future codes for …

Orville Wright helped design the Chrysler Airflow

Did you know that the average car in the 1930s was 30% more aerodynamic going backward?

In the 1930s, with the start of the Great Depression, product engineers and manufacturers looked to design as a means to drive consumer products sales. Of the 1930 trends in design, streamlining was associated with prosperity and an exciting future, and became a widespread design style for airships, railroad engines and cars, buses, and other modes of transportation. Orville Wright …

The famous picture of the Wright Flyer first flight

Did you know the man who took aviation’s most famous picture was involved in an aeroplane crash that very same day?

(At least that’s what he told everybody.) You’ve seen the photograph; black and white, a flimsy, almost frail device looking more kite than aircraft on a lonely beach, and the two brothers—one flying, one steadying the aeroplane. It’s the photographic record of the world’s first powered flight—the most famous of the many photographs taken of the efforts and inventions of …