"Re-living The Wright Way"

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Invention Process

Researched Flight

Tested Theories

Flight Control

Test Pilot Skills

Propulsion System

First Flight

Flight Development

Pushing Envelope

Wilbur Wright Bio

Orville Wright Bio


Lesson Plans

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Webcast/Video

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CD-ROMs


Gliders

1900 - Aircraft

1901 - Aircraft

1902 - Aircraft

Powered Aircraft

1903 - Wright Flyer

1904 - Aircraft

1905 - Aircraft

Flight Control

Wing Warping

1901 - Wind Tunnel

 

Wright Brothers' Invention Process

(1899 - 1902) - Researched How Things Fly

The first step in any new program or project is research. The Wright Brothers first performed a literature search to find out the state of aeronautical knowledge at their time. They read about the works of Cayley, and Langley, and the hang-gliding flights of Otto Lilienthal. They corresponded with Octave Chanute concerning some of their ideas. They recognized that control of the flying aircraft would be the most crucial and hardest problem to solve.

The Wright Brothers spent a great deal of time observing birds in flight. They noticed that birds soared into the wind and that the air flowing over the curved surface of their wings created lift. Birds change the shape of their wings to turn and maneuver. The Wrights believed that they could use this technique to obtain roll control by warping, or changing the shape, of a portion of the wing.

Today, NASA engineers are involved in all aspects of research. Engineers use the Internet, read books, attend conferences, and use videoconferencing technologies to solve new problems of flight.