Planes of Fame Air Museum
Planes of Fame Air Museum
Home »  Collection »  Flying & Static Aircraft »  Wright 1903 Kitty Hawk Flyer


  • Wilbur and Orville Wright, two bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio, were the first to build a flying machine that was heavier-than-air, could take off under its own power, and be fully controllable.
  • They started by building gliders, using aeronautical tables developed by Chanute and other early experimenters. The Wrights soon determined that these charts were in error, and built their own wind tunnel to create their own airfoil information. After several years of experimentation with gliders of various designs, they developed a process called "wing warping," which caused the vehicle to bank into a turn (much as a bicycle does), cancelling the effects of adverse yaw.
  • Charlie Taylor, a machinist in the Dayton bicycle shop, was tasked to provide the engine for the Flyer. He developed a four-cylinder aluminum engine that produced twelve horsepower. This was mounted on the lower wing, and a bicycle-chain drive system was used to turn two counter-rotating pusher propellers.
  • On December 17, 1903, Orville Wright made the first of four flights, the longest of which was just over 850 feet. Following that flight, the Flyer was flipped over by a gust of wind and severely damaged. It never flew again. The "original" 1903 Flyer hanging in the National Air and Space Museum actually contains only part of the original aircraft.



  • Planes of Fame Air Museum's 1903 Flyer replica was built in 1953 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Wrights' first flight. In 2003 it was completely restored by Chapter 92 of the Experimental Aircraft Association and presented to the museum for display.



Status: Static Display
Manufacturer: Wright Cycle Company
Year: 1953 (replica built by Experimental Aircraft Association )
Model: Wright 1903 Flyer
Registration Number:
Serial Number:
Crew: 1
Max T/O Weight: 745 lb.
Span: 40 ft. 4 in.
Length: 21 ft. 1 in.
Height: 9 ft. 0 in.
Maximum Speed: 30 mph
Cruise Speed: N/A
Rate of Climb: N/A
Power Plant: 1 x Wright 4-cylinder inline water-cooled engine, 12 hp.
Range: N/A
Service Ceiling: N/A
Armament: None


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