Trains, Boats & Planes | 19 August 2015Aviation Day and the Wright Flyer Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Today is National Aviation Day! Franklin Delano Roosevelt decreed it so in 1939. He picked August 19 because it’s aviation pioneer Orville Wright’s birthday. It’s only appropriate, then, that today we take a closer look at the Wright Flyer, circa 1903. We found some interesting details about this historic aircraft in Robert F. Dorr’s 365 Aircraft You Must Fly. The Very First The Wright Flyer of 1903 was—as described at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, where it is displayed—“the first powered, heavier-than air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard.” It was the first plane to master the three essential elements of flight: lift, propulsion, and in flight control. Some detractors claim that other pioneers achieved powered, heavier-than-air flight before the Wrights—among them inventor Gustave Whitehead—but these claims are not widely accepted by scholars. Wilbur and Orville Wright— with Wilbur as the driving force but Orville as history’s first pilot—pioneered the concept of flight controls in the three-axis universe (yaw, roll, and pitch) in which airplanes have operated ever since. Their work with gliders led to their construction of the Wright Flyer, which made its historic first flight amid North Carolina sand dunes with Orville prone at the controls. First flight: December 17, 1903 Developed from gliders tested by Wilbur and Orville Wright Made of “giant spruce” wood and muslin fabric Orville’s first flight lasted 12 seconds Later in the day, on their fourth flight, Wilbur flew for 59 seconds The Wrights followed their success by sending a jubilant telegram to their father in Dayton Wilbur died in 1912 (age 45); Orville lived until 1948 (age 76) Engine: Wright horizontal 4-cylinder engine Horsepower: 12 Weight: 605 lb. Wingspan: 40 ft. 4 in. 365 Aircraft You Must Fly: The most sublime, weird, and outrageous aircraft from the past 100+ years … How many do you want to fly? Author: Robert F. Dorr A fascinating, entertaining, and amusing plane-by-plane journey through aviation history. Aviation has come a long way since the Wright Brothers built their glider in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903. From among the thousands of different types of military and commercial aircraft constructed over the past 100 years , aviation expert Robert F. Dorr profiles the most important, fascinating, and famous aircraft ever made. Your opinions might differ, but you wouldn’t want to miss out on the planes Dorr identifies as flights of a lifetime. The book covers 365 of the most iconic aircraft in world history that enthusiasts, serious-minded hobbyists, and casual fans would love to fly if given the chance. Clear photography, historical context, and specs get you as close as possible to these planes without setting foot in a hangar. While covering every era of aviation history, many of the planes in 365 Aircraft You Must Fly were flown during World War II, a time unmatched in aviation for its technological advances, romance, and clarity of purpose. During this golden age of flying, propellers gave way to jet engines, and the “Greatest Generation” fought gallantly in them. Explore the history, thrills, and joy of flying the world’s most amazing 365 aircraft. Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: In The UK: Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.