Brothers National Memorial
sand, and the dream of flight brought Wilbur and Orville Wright
to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where they achieved the first successful
airplane flights on December 17, 1903. With courage and perseverance
these self taught engineers relied on teamwork and the application
of scientific process.
had seemingly settled into respectability as proprietors of a small
business. But the Wright brothers of Dayton, Ohio nurtured a barely
respectable dream; the possibility of flight. Wilbur, four years
older, quiet and intense, a dreamer who could lose himself in books.
Orville was outgoing, talkative, and an immaculate dresser. Both
combined intuitive mechanical ability with analytical intelligence.
1892 they opened a bicycle shop and prospered, but they were restless,
especially Wilbur. Their energies were focused by two events of
1896; the death in a flying accident of Otto Lilienthal, the celebrated
experimenter with gliders, and the successful launching of powered
models by Samuel Langley. The Wright's serious work in aeronautics
began in 1899 when Wilbur wrote the Smithsonian for literature.
Dismayed that so many great minds had made so little progress, the
brothers were also exhilarated by the realization that they had
as much chance as anyone of succeeding. Wilbur took the lead in
the early stages of their work, but Orville was soon drawn in as
an equal collaborator. They quickly developed their own theories,
and for the next four years devoted themselves to the goal of human