1867 – 1912
Wilbur Wright focused his attentions on the theory and mechanics of controlling the airplane during flight. He developed the theory of wing warping. Practical experimentation revealed that the standard tables of lift and drag were incorrect, so the Wright Brothers built a wind tunnel in their shop to recalculate them. This enabled them
to design new wings and build gliders that were capable of long, controlled flights. The data from the glider flights allowed them to perfect the airplane design, and the first powered flight occurred in the morning of December 17, 1903. By the end of the day, Wilbur Wright had flown 852 feet in 59 seconds. The brothers then set out to build a practical aircraft and by 1905 had succeeded. The combination of scientific experimentation, theoretical knowledge, and mechanical skills demonstrated by Orville and Wilbur Wright made them uniquely qualified to open the era of aviation.