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  • Millville, Indiana, U.S.
    Tuesday Apr 16, 1867

    Wilbur Birth

    Millville, Indiana, U.S.
    Tuesday Apr 16, 1867

    Wilbur was born near Millville, Indiana, in 1867.




  • Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Saturday Aug 19, 1871

    Orville Birth

    Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Saturday Aug 19, 1871

    Orville in Dayton, Ohio, in 1871.




  • Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    1884

    Family's abrupt move

    Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    1884

    Both brothers attended high school, but did not receive diplomas. The family's abrupt move in 1884 from Richmond, Indiana, to Dayton, Ohio, where the family had lived during the 1870s, prevented Wilbur from receiving his diploma after finishing four years of high school. The diploma was awarded posthumously to Wilbur on April 16, 1994, which would have been his 127th birthday.




  • Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Mar, 1889

    The West Side News

    Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Mar, 1889

    Orville dropped out of high school after his junior year to start a printing business in 1889, having designed and built his own printing press with Wilbur's help. Wilbur joined the print shop, and in March the brothers launched a weekly newspaper, the West Side News. Subsequent issues listed Orville as publisher and Wilbur as editor on the masthead.




  • Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    1896

    Wright Cycle Company

    Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    1896

    In December 1892 the brothers opened a repair and sales shop (the Wright Cycle Exchange, later the Wright Cycle Company) and in 1896 began manufacturing their own brand.




  • Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Jul, 1899

    Wing Warping test

    Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Jul, 1899

    In July 1899 Wilbur put wing warping to the test by building and flying a biplane kite with a five-foot (1.5m) wingspan.




  • Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    1900

    To Kitty Hawk

    Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    1900

    In 1900 the brothers went to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to begin their manned gliding experiments.


  • Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    Wednesday Oct 03, 1900

    First tests

    Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    Wednesday Oct 03, 1900

    The brothers flew the glider for only a few days in the early autumn of 1900 at Kitty Hawk. In the first tests, probably on October 3, Wilbur was aboard while the glider flew as a kite not far above the ground with men below holding tether ropes. Most of the kite tests were unpiloted, with sandbags or chains and even a local boy as ballast.


  • Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    Jul, 1901

    New Try

    Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    Jul, 1901

    Hoping to improve lift, they built the 1901 glider with a much larger wing area and made dozens of flights in July and August for distances of 50 to 400 ft (15 to 122 m).


  • Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    1902

    The 1902 Try

    Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    1902

    By 1902 they realized that wing-warping created "differential drag" at the wingtips. Greater lift at one end of the wing also increased drag, which slowed that end of the wing, making the glider swivel—or "yaw"—so the nose pointed away from the turn. That was how the tailless 1901 glider behaved.


  • Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    Friday Sep 19, 1902

    Tries

    Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    Friday Sep 19, 1902

    From September 19 to October 24 they made between 700 and 1,000 glides, the longest lasting 26 seconds and covering 622.5 feet (189.7 m). Hundreds of well-controlled glides after they made the rudder steerable convinced them they were ready to build a powered flying machine.


  • Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    Wednesday Oct 08, 1902

    A Major Milestone

    Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    Wednesday Oct 08, 1902

    With their new method the Wrights achieved true control in turns for the first time on October 8, 1902, a major milestone.


  • U.S.
    Monday Mar 23, 1903

    Flying Machine

    U.S.
    Monday Mar 23, 1903

    On March 23, 1903, the Wrights applied for their famous patent for a "Flying Machine", based on their successful 1902 glider.


  • Kill Devil Hills ,Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    Dec, 1903

    First powered flight attempt

    Kill Devil Hills ,Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    Dec, 1903

    In camp at Kill Devil Hills, they endured weeks of delays caused by broken propeller shafts during engine tests. After the shafts were replaced (requiring two trips back to Dayton), Wilbur won a coin toss and made a three-second flight attempt on December 14, 1903, stalling after takeoff and causing minor damage to the Flyer.


  • Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    Thursday Dec 17, 1903
    10:35:00 AM

    Wrights finally took to the air

    Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.
    Thursday Dec 17, 1903

    Following repairs, the Wrights finally took to the air on December 17, 1903, making two flights each from level ground into a freezing headwind gusting to 27 miles per hour (43 km/h). The first flight, by Orville at 10:35 am, of 120 feet (37 m) in 12 seconds, at a speed of only 6.8 miles per hour (10.9 km/h) over the ground, was recorded in a famous photograph.


  • Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Monday May 23, 1904

    First Flight attempt (Flyer)

    Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Monday May 23, 1904

    In 1904 the Wrights built the Flyer II. They decided to avoid the expense of travel and bringing supplies to the Outer Banks and set up an airfield at Huffman Prairie, a cow pasture eight miles (13 km) northeast of Dayton. They received permission to use the field rent-free from owner and bank president Torrance Huffman. They invited reporters to their first flight attempt of the year on May 23, on the condition that no photographs be taken.


  • U.S.
    Saturday Aug 13, 1904

    Best Kitty Hawk effort

    U.S.
    Saturday Aug 13, 1904

    At Huffman Prairie, lighter winds made takeoffs harder, and they had to use a longer starting rail than the 60-foot (18 m) rail used at Kitty Hawk. The first flights in 1904 revealed problems with longitudinal stability, solved by adding ballast and lengthening the supports for the elevator. During the spring and summer they suffered many hard landings, often damaging the aircraft and causing minor injuries. On August 13, making an unassisted takeoff, Wilbur finally exceeded their best Kitty Hawk effort with a flight of 1,300 feet (400 m). Then they decided to use a weight-powered catapult to make takeoffs easier and tried it for the first time on September 7.


  • U.S.
    Tuesday Sep 20, 1904

    The First complete circle in history

    U.S.
    Tuesday Sep 20, 1904

    On September 20, 1904, Wilbur flew the first complete circle in history by a manned heavier-than-air powered machine, covering 4,080 feet (1,244 m) in about a minute and a half.


  • U.S.
    Wednesday Nov 09, 1904

    Wright's two best flights

    U.S.
    Wednesday Nov 09, 1904

    Their two best flights were November 9 by Wilbur and December 1 by Orville, each exceeding five minutes and covering nearly three miles in almost four circles.


  • U.S.
    Friday Jun 23, 1905

    The Flyer III

    U.S.
    Friday Jun 23, 1905

    The Wrights scrapped the battered and much-repaired aircraft, but saved the engine, and in 1905 built a new airplane, the Flyer III. Nevertheless, at first this Flyer offered the same marginal performance as the first two. Its maiden flight was on June 23 and the first few flights were no longer than 10 seconds.


  • U.S.
    1906

    No flights made

    U.S.
    1906

    The Wright brothers made no flights at all in 1906 and 1907. They spent the time attempting to persuade the U.S. and European governments that they had invented a successful flying machine and were prepared to negotiate a contract to sell such machines. They also experimented with a pontoon and engine setup on the Miami River (Ohio) in hopes of flying from the water. These experiments proved unsuccessful.


  • U.S.
    Tuesday May 22, 1906

    New and useful Improvements in Flying Machines

    U.S.
    Tuesday May 22, 1906

    The Wright brothers wrote their 1903 patent application themselves, but it was rejected. In January 1904 they hired Ohio patent attorney Henry Toulmin, and on May 22, 1906, they were granted U.S. Patent 821393 for "new and useful Improvements in Flying Machines".


  • U.S.
    Thursday May 14, 1908

    First fixed-wing aircraft passenger on a few short flights

    U.S.
    Thursday May 14, 1908

    Their contracts required them to fly with a passenger, so they modified the 1905 Flyer by installing two seats and adding upright control levers. After tests with sandbags in the passenger seat, Charlie Furnas, a helper from Dayton, became the first fixed-wing aircraft passenger on a few short flights May 14, 1908.


  • Le Mans, France
    Saturday Aug 08, 1908

    Some newspapers that called him a "bluffeur"

    Le Mans, France
    Saturday Aug 08, 1908

    Facing much skepticism in the French aeronautical community and outright scorn by some newspapers that called him a "bluffeur", Wilbur began official public demonstrations on August 8, 1908, at the Hunaudières horse racing track near the town of Le Mans, France.


  • Virginia, U.S.
    Thursday Sep 03, 1908

    Demonstrating another nearly identical Flyer to the United States Army

    Virginia, U.S.
    Thursday Sep 03, 1908

    Orville followed his brother's success by demonstrating another nearly identical Flyer to the United States Army at Fort Myer, Virginia, starting on September 3, 1908.


  • U.S.
    Wednesday Sep 09, 1908

    The First hour-long flight

    U.S.
    Wednesday Sep 09, 1908

    On September 9, he made the first hour-long flight, lasting 62 minutes and 15 seconds.


  • U.S.
    Thursday Sep 17, 1908

    The First airplane crash fatality

    U.S.
    Thursday Sep 17, 1908

    On September 17, Army lieutenant Thomas Selfridge rode along as his passenger, serving as an official observer. A few minutes into the flight at an altitude of about 100 feet (30 m), a propeller split and shattered, sending the Flyer out of control. Selfridge suffered a fractured skull in the crash and died that evening in the nearby Army hospital, becoming the first airplane crash fatality.


  • U.S.
    Wednesday Oct 07, 1908

    The First American woman passenger

    U.S.
    Wednesday Oct 07, 1908

    On October 7, 1908, Edith Berg, the wife of the brothers' European business agent, became the first American woman passenger when she flew with Wilbur—one of many passengers who rode with him that autumn.


  • Pau, France
    Monday Feb 15, 1909

    More public flights in france

    Pau, France
    Monday Feb 15, 1909

    The Wrights traveled to Pau, in the south of France, where Wilbur made many more public flights, giving rides to a procession of officers, journalists and statesmen—and his sister Katharine on February 15.


  • U.S.
    Monday Nov 22, 1909

    Wright Company incorporated

    U.S.
    Monday Nov 22, 1909

    The Wright Company was incorporated on November 22, 1909.


  • U.S.
    Wednesday May 25, 1910

    Two Family flights

    U.S.
    Wednesday May 25, 1910

    On May 25, 1910, back at Huffman Prairie, Orville piloted two unique flights. First, he took off on a six-minute flight with Wilbur as his passenger, the only time the Wright brothers ever flew together. They received permission from their father to make the flight. They had always promised Milton they would never fly together to avoid the chance of a double tragedy and to ensure one brother would remain to continue their experiments. Next, Orville took his 82-year-old father on a nearly seven-minute flight, the only one of Milton Wright's life. The aircraft rose to about 350 feet (107 m) while the elderly Wright called to his son, "Higher, Orville, higher!"


  • U.S.
    Monday Jun 13, 1910

    The mountebank business

    U.S.
    Monday Jun 13, 1910

    There were not many customers for airplanes, so in the spring of 1910 the Wrights hired and trained a team of salaried exhibition pilots to show off their machines and win prize money for the company—despite Wilbur's disdain for what he called "the mountebank business". The team debuted at the Indianapolis Speedway on June 13.


  • Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Monday Nov 07, 1910

    First known commercial air cargo

    Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Monday Nov 07, 1910

    The Wright Company transported the first known commercial air cargo on November 7, 1910, by flying two bolts of dress silk 65 miles (105 km) from Dayton to Columbus, Ohio, for the Morehouse-Martens Department Store, which paid a $5,000 fee.


  • Berlin, Germany
    Jun, 1911

    Wilbur never flew again

    Berlin, Germany
    Jun, 1911

    Following a brief training flight he gave to a German pilot in Berlin in June 1911, Wilbur never flew again.


  • U.S.
    Nov, 1911

    The brothers disbanded the team

    U.S.
    Nov, 1911

    Before the year was over, pilots Ralph Johnstone and Arch Hoxsey died in air show crashes, and in November 1911 the brothers disbanded the team on which nine men had served (four other former team members died in crashes afterward).


  • Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Thursday May 30, 1912

    Wilbur's Death

    Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Thursday May 30, 1912

    Wilbur died, at age 45, at the Wright family home on May 30.


  • U.S.
    1915

    Orville sold the company

    U.S.
    1915

    Orville succeeded to the presidency of the Wright Company upon Wilbur's death. Sharing Wilbur's distaste for business but not his brother's executive skills, Orville sold the company in 1915.


  • U.S.
    1918

    Orville's last flight

    U.S.
    1918

    Orville made his last flight as a pilot in 1918 in a 1911 Model B.


  • Burbank, California, U.S.
    Wednesday Apr 19, 1944

    A Long Flight

    Burbank, California, U.S.
    Wednesday Apr 19, 1944

    On April 19, 1944, the second production Lockheed Constellation, piloted by Howard Hughes and TWA president Jack Frye, flew from Burbank, California, to Washington, D.C. in 6 hours and 57 minutes (2300 mi – 330.9 mph).


  • Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Friday Jan 30, 1948

    Orville's Death

    Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
    Friday Jan 30, 1948

    Orville died on January 30, 1948.


  • U.S.
    Tuesday Nov 23, 1948

    One dollar agreement

    U.S.
    Tuesday Nov 23, 1948

    On November 23, 1948, the executors of Orville's estate signed an agreement for the Smithsonian to purchase the Flyer for one dollar. At the insistence of the executors, the agreement also included strict conditions for display of the airplane.


  • U.S.
    Monday Oct 24, 2011

    Record that held for almost 10 years

    U.S.
    Monday Oct 24, 2011

    In October 1911, Orville Wright returned to the Outer Banks again, to conduct safety and stabilization tests with a new glider. On October 24, he soared for nine minutes and 45 seconds, a record that held for almost 10 years, when gliding as a sport began in the 1920s.


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