On December 17, 1903 Wilbur and Orville Wright achieved the first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The brothers were two of seven children born to Milton and Susan Wright of Dayton, Ohio. The others were named Reuchlin, Lorin, Datharine, Otis, and Ida.
Their father often traveled as a bishop in the Church of the Brethren, and one day he brought a toy helicopter made of bamboo and powered by a rubber band home as a gift for the boys. They played with it until it broke and then made their own. Neither received a high school diploma, although Wilbur attended almost all four years.
Their first join venture was a printing shop, and later a bicycle repair shop and they eventually became bicycle manufacturers. They used the proceeds from this venture to finance their growing interest in flight. Wilbur and Orville were 36 and 32 years old respectively on that December day 1903.
Neither brother married. They once quipped they didn’t have time for a wife and an airplane. Wilbur died of typhoid fever at the age of 45. Orville made his last flight as a pilot in 1918 and retired to become an honorary member of many committees including NACA the predecessor to NASA.
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