Orville Wright, Inventor of the
Wilbur Wright, Inventor of the Airplane
Both Images are Public Domain, Library
of Congress collections.
A diagram of the main parts of a simple
to enlarge. Copyright
|The airplane was invented by Wilbur and Orville
Wright of Dayton, Ohio. The Wright brothers started experimenting with gliders in 1899.
However, it was not until 17 December 1903 that the flying machine was flown successfully.
They were granted a patent for their flying machine in 1906. Before the Wright brothers success in flight, the attempts of making
heavier than air flight goes back as far as 1325. Children in Europe at that time were
playing with a toy fitted with windmill sails, which they set spinning by pulling on a
piece of string. As the sails rotated, the toy rose into the air. Then there was the
invention of air balloons and airships that also lead to the invention of the first
airplane. It is also with the knowledge from previous glider pioneers such as Otto
Lilienthanl of Germany, Samuel Langley of America and the Wright brothers own
engineering skills that they were able to construct "Flyer " which was what they
called their machine.
The problem with the previous construction of the airplane involved
controlling a flying machine. The Wright brothers recognized this problem and came up with
a solution. Their solution was a biplane wing structure with a wire-braced truss
structure. The central part was rigid, but the outer parts could be twisted under the
pilots control. The tip section on one side was inclined at a greater angle to the
airflow, thus lifting that wing while the other tip was twisted in opposition to lower it
and so the wing thereby banked. By doing this, it inclined the lift vector and thus
turning the aircraft.
A F-3 British military jet
aircraft, shown here with afterburners. Click
to enlarge. Copyright Ian
A. Griffiths/Robert Harding Picture Library.
Not long after the invention of the Wright brothers, many people
created more powerful planes to go across large distances. Many improvements have been
down to the glider after the Wrights success. The steering was improved by making
the tail moveable. The Wright brothers invention lead to creation of the monoplane,
which was designed by the Frenchman Louis Bleriot. During WWI and WW2 there was an
enormous development of the airplane. The military saw the use of aerial combat. As time
passed and technologies improved, the basic design of the first airplane has improved
dramatically over the years. It has led to the development of helicopters, engines, jet
fighters and all other aerial transport that we have today.
The Wrights flying machines have turned mankinds dream
of flying into reality and also effectively reduce the size of the globe for us to travel.
Also the flying machine that they created could be considered as the great-grandfather of
huge jumbo jets which speed to all parts of the world today.