Wright 1905 Flyer
This page shows a computer drawing of the Wright
brothers' 1905 aircraft. This machine was the third
aircraft built by the brothers.
In a larger sense, this aircraft was the first practical working
airplane because, in its design, the brothers solved the
pitching problem which had plagued the
This aircraft was the culmination of their efforts beginning in 1900.
By the end of 1904,
the brothers were making flights of several minutes from
Huffman Field outside Dayton, Ohio. The 1904 aircraft was hard to
control and fairly heavy for its small 18 horse power motor.
The brothers decided to keep the same engine, but to re-design the
airframe to eliminate the
pitch problem present on both the 1903 and 1904
The solution was rather simple.
The brothers increased
the size of the elevator and rudder
and moved the elevator and rudder farther from the
center of gravity.
This increased the
produced by the control surface and provided greater control for the aircraft.
The overall length of the aircraft increased from 18 feet to 28 feet.
You can study the design of the 1905 aircraft by changing the
view using the buttons at the
Between the 1904 and 1905 aircraft,
you will notice that the
radiator and fuel tank were moved back to the front strut, as on the 1903 aircraft,
and the size of the fuel tank was increased.
The weight was also reduced by eliminating the 70 pounds of ballast.
The 1905 aircraft weighed about 860 pounds with the pilot.
The brothers added small semi-circular surfaces called "blinkers" between the
elevators to improve the aircraft's lateral stability.
The brothers retained the catapult launching system first used in 1904.
Here is a photo taken in 1905 of the aircraft at Huffman Field with
the launching "derrick" visible at the far right
The 1905 aircraft could be
flown until the fuel tank was empty; staying in the air for
more than a half hour, flying nearly 25 miles around Huffman's farm,
executing turns and figure 8's, and flying more
than 50 feet off the ground.
Here is a photo taken in 1905 of the aircraft in flight
After six years of work,
the brothers finally had a practical working airplane and began to market
it to the War Department.
To celebrate the Centennial of Flight in 2003, several people around the
country have built replicas of Wright aircraft.
Mark Dusenberry, of Dennison, Ohio, has built and flies a
full scale replica
of the 1905 flyer.
- Re-Living the Wright Way
- Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics
- NASA Home Page