5 Interesting Facts About The Wright Brothers

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5 Interesting Facts About The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers are famous for creating the first real airplane, but did you know that the first plane would actually be considered a glider today? These aviation pioneers have contributed great things to our world and have allowed humanity to defy gravity in ways that were once thought to be unthinkable. Every December 17, the US celebrates Wright Brothers Day to honor the men who would bring us sustained flight. Here are some additional interesting facts about these inventors.

1. Just Flip a Coin

How did Orville become the first Wright Brother to become airborne? It wasn’t a fancy selection process. They didn’t duke it out with their fists. All they did was flip a coin. Wilbur actually won the coin toss, but his attempt at flying was unsuccessful and he damaged the plane. That meant Orville would get his turn on December 17, 1903, and the rest of the story would become history. Dressed in his Sunday best, Orville flew for 12 seconds. By the end of the day, the brothers could keep the plane aloft for more than a minute and cover over 800 feet.

2. The Love of a Father

The Wright Brothers’ father was very concerned about his boys. Because of the dangers of airplanes, he made the boys promise him that they would never fly together in case they had an accident. In 1910, however, one exception to the promise was allowed. The brothers shared a flight that lasted six minutes. Upon touching down, Orville took his father up into the air. Even at the age of 82, Father Wright declared it to be one of the best experiences of his life.

3. Orville Was Involved in the First Serious Accident

The Wright Brothers knew that the key to their success would be military applications. In a demonstration of their aircraft to the US Army in 1908, Orville took off with a Lieutenant as a passenger. Just after takeoff, the propeller on the plane suddenly disintegrated and the craft nosedived into the ground. The Lieutenant died a few hours after the crash at the hospital, becoming the first aviation fatality. Orville broken four ribs, his leg, and had a back injury that would bother him the rest of his life.

4. They Hated the Smithsonian

The Wright Flyer is on display at the Smithsonian Museum, but it wasn’t always that way. Samuel Langley, who was the former secretary of the institution, had also tried to become the first person to build a workable aircraft. His efforts failed just 9 days before the Wright Brothers would experience success. The Smithsonian created an exhibit of Langley’s aircraft, calling it the first airplane capable of flight. That made the Wright Brothers hate the Smithsonian so much that they allowed the London Science Museum to display their airplane instead. It wasn’t until 1948 that the plane came back to US soil.

5. It Went to the Moon

The Wright Flyer never flew after its first 1903 flight because the wind flipped it over and damaged it beyond repair. Yet this airplane has also traveled further than most other aircraft. Neil Armstrong was carrying a piece of it when he first stepped on the moon.

The Wright Brothers would change how the world thought about transportation. Their innovative spirit continues to live on today and that’s why they are honored every year on the anniversary of their first flight.