Jump to content

Today in Aviation: The Wright Brothers’ First Sustained Powered Flight

In The News

Recommended Posts

MIAMI – Today in Aviation, the Wright brothers made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft with the Wright Flyer in 1903. The flight took place 4 mi (6 km) south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Wright Flyer (often referred to retrospectively as Flyer I or Flyer 1903) was the first […]

The post Today in Aviation: The Wright Brothers’ First Sustained Powered Flight appeared first on Airways Magazine.

View the full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As of May 1904, the 1903 plane was still unfinished, according to a man that worked for the Wrights at Kitty Hawk

Elizabeth City Economist: A gentleman visiting this city whose home is in Kitty Hawk, is responsible for the assertion that the Wright brothers, of airship fame, will return to Kitty Hawk in the near future and resume work on their aerial monster. According to this gentleman the airship has never been removed from Kitty Hawk and nearly all the interviews published in the papers of Norfolk have been erroneous in this respect. This gentleman has assisted the Wrights in all their work and has a general supervision of their property during their absence. He says that they have not completed the ship and that they will return some time within the next month and resume their work. A story is current that they will complete the ship and make the trip from here to St. Louis sometime this fall.” (“Elizabeth City Economist: A gentleman visiting this city”, The Wilmington Messenger, Wilmington, North Carolina, May 26, 1904, col. 1, p. 6)

It is self evident that Wilbur and Orville could not have performed the four flights of December 17, 1903, with an unfinished plane and in conclusions their official press release of January 6, 1904, was a lie. In reality, Flyer I never left the ground in 1903.


Detail of the well known picture of Flier 1 taking off on Dec. 17, 1903. In reality, the photo was taken in May 1908 and first published in Sep. 1908. Another remark would be that the plane was about to glide along a slope, visible in front of the apparatus.

 "the brothers only “glided” off Kill Devil Hill that day. Their first real flight came on May 6, 1908", Alpheus W. Drinkwater, telegraph operator

 "Wilbur and Orville Wright are credited with making their first powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine on Dec. 17, 1903. But Alpheus W. Drinkwater, 76 years old, who sent the telegraph message ushering in the air age, said the brothers only “glided” off Kill Devil Hill that day. Their first real flight came on May 6, 1908, he said." Source: New York Times, Dec. 17, 1951.

The declaration of Alpheus W. Drinkwater corroborates well the May 26, 1904, article in the Wilmington Messenger and also the existence in September 1908 of an image showing a Wright powered machine just taking off. This picture claimed by the Wright brothers as being made on December 17, 1903 was in fact taken in May 1908. (As an explanation, according to the Wrights themselves, they left their sandy testing grounds in North Carolina just after flying on December 17 , 1903, and only came back in April 1908 for trying a new plane.)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...