On December 17th 1903, the first successful flight of the Wright Flyer took place.
One of the biggest milestones in the evolution of commercial air flight, the Wright Flyer was the first powered aircraft, and the result of the Wright Brothers’ decade-long interest in aeronautical flight.
The Wright Flyer underwent two separate flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 14, and December 17.
The Wright Brothers created several gliders between 1900 and 1902, refining the process of flight control each time, until 1903 when they filed for a patent on the process.
In 1903, they created the Wright Flyer with a custom-made engine that had a high enough power-to-weight ratio in order to power an aircraft.
The engine mechanics borrowed heavily from their knowledge of bicycles, which they gained from owning a bicycle shop and their own brand of bicycles.
The flight on December 14 was piloted by Wilbur, who won the toss. The Flyer managed to get into the air, however he failed to properly control it, and the flight didn’t last long.
Three days later, on December 17, both the Wright Brothers piloted separate flights, the best of which lasted 59 seconds and covered 260 metres, though this was during optimal conditions.
Flyer I was soon replaced by Flyers II and III in 1904 and 1905 respectively. On October 5, 1905, Wilbur piloted Flyer III for a 39 minute flight which covered 38km.
Nevertheless, Flyer I remained an important milestone in the Wright Brothers’ exploration of aeronautical flight.