Today in History: The Wright Brothers Attempt to Fly The First Powered Aircraft
By Toby Friedman
118 years ago today, the Wright brothers attempted to fly the first engine-powered airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Unlike their older brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright did not attend college, but they possessed extraordinary technical ability and a sophisticated approach to solving problems in mechanical design.
In 1903 they created an airplane engine and built a new aircraft to house it. That year on December 14, they attempted to fly the powered aircraft. On that first try, the engine stalled during take-off, and the plane was damaged.
Three days later, after repairing the damaged aircraft, in front of five witnesses, the plane ascended into the air and successfully remained aloft for 12 seconds, flying at 120 feet high. Over the next few years, the Wright brothers went on to further develop the airplane.
The historic Wright brothers’ aircraft of 1903 is on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum.