This slide shows the parts of the Wright brothers'
and their functions.
The various parts of the aircraft were designed and perfected over four years
flight testing, leading to the first self powered, heavier
than air, man
flight in December of 1903.
You can compare the parts and functions of this aircraft with a modern airliner.
While this aircraft
does not look like a modern airliner, the basic
acting on the airplanes are exactly the same.
For any airplane to fly, one must overcome the weight
of the airplane itself, the fuel, and the pilot. The
wings generate most of the lift
to hold the plane in the air. To generate lift, the airplane must be
pushed through the air. But the air resists the motion of the aircraft and
this opposing force is called the airplane
To overcome the drag, a propulsion system is used generate
The Wright brothers used twin pusher
located behind the wings and
powered by a small motor for their propulsion system.
One of the major breakthroughs of the Wright brothers was the ability
to control and maneuver their aircraft. An aircraft must be controlled
about three principal axes; an up and down movement of the nose, which
a side to side movement of the nose, which
and an up and down movement of the wing tips,
which is called
The Wright's used an all-moving
elevator at the front of the aircraft to
control pitch. This is quite different from modern aircraft which
use either elevators
at the rear of aircraft horizontal
stabilizer or all-moving
stabilators to control pitch.
From the glider flights of
the Wright's identified the need
at the rear of the aircraft to control yaw and to allow co-ordinated
turns. Roll control was provided by
wing warping which is twisting the wing
tips to increase or decrease lift on the outer sections of the wing.
the rear portion of a wing will change the amount of force that
the wing produces. The ability to change forces gives us a means of
controlling and maneuvering the airplane.
Modern aircraft use ailerons or
spoilers to accomplish the same control.
The fuselage, or body of the airplane, holds all the pieces
together. For the Wright brothers, this was a rather light, framed
structure which did not require covering because of the low flight speed.
The pilot of the Wright flyer would lie on the wing next to the engine.
So there were no seats, or seat belts, on this first aircraft.
- Re-Living the Wright Way
- Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics
- NASA Home Page