The Wright Brothers: Air Pioneers

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Part 3: A Legacy in the Air

They flew the machine three times that day, mainly because each time they managed to land without crashing. Each flight was a bit longer, and the final flight of the day carried Wilbur 852 feet. He was in the air for a full 59 seconds.

The Wright plane wasn't a hit overnight, however. No one else knew about the flight. The brothers returned to their bicycle business in Dayton and also continued to refine their airplane invention. Not long after that, they had built a plane that could fly 25 miles and go 40 miles an hour. They even had a model that could fly circles in their—and not go off-balance and crash to the ground!

In 1908, Wilbur flew one of their planes in front of royalty in Europe. In the same year, the rest of America discovered the airplane when a newspaper reporter witnessed a flight and wrote about it. The story was soon in newspapers all over the country. The Wrights were suddenly famous.

The very next year, they opened a business to make airplanes, the Wright Co. They found great fame and success making airplanes. Unfortunately, Wilbur died in 1912 of typhoid fever. Orville lived on, however, eventually selling his business and watching the dream of he and his brother become a reality in the modern industrial age.

First page > A Childhood of Curiosity > Page 1, 2, 3

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David White