The Quest for Practical Flight
When Wilbur and Orville came home from Kitty Hawk in December 1903, they knew that they were standing at a crossroads. They had proved that mechanical flight was possible, but hadn't proved that it was practical.
The Wright brothers never wanted to invent just a scientific curiosity, or a marvelous plaything. As the Wright brothers stated…"From the beginning, the prime object...was to devise a machine of practical utility, rather than a useless and extravagant toy…"
By October 1905, the Wright brothers' new machine took off and landed safely, turned gracefully in the sky, and flew for as long as the gas tank held fuel. A remarkable machine, it was the world's first practical airplane.
Kings of the Air
In addition to designing and building the world's first practical airplane, Wilbur and Orville had to teach themselves to become the world's first airplane pilots. However, doubts about the Wright brothers' claims to flight were running high in Europe until August 8, 1908. On that date, Wilbur took off in front of a small crowd near Le Mans, France. Word spread quickly. Critics apologized. Businessmen, politicians, celebrities, and royalty from all over rushed to crown the Wright brothers, "Kings of the Air."
The Wright's invention of the airplane changed much in the world. Now, you can learn more about their Quest for Practical Flight in this interactive media player. Choose from The Miracle of Flight movie, the Learning to Fly animated cartoon, Riding the Wind movie, the Age of Flight movie and view 3-D animated models of the planes the Wright Brothers built between 1901 - 1905.