Wright brothers

Orville (1871-1948) & Wilbur Wright (1871-1912), 8th cousins 4x removed

The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were two Americans credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on 17 Dec 1903.  In the two years afterward, the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft.  Although not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.  The brothers’ fundamental breakthrough was their invention of three-axis control, which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and to maintain its equilibrium.  This method became standard and remains standard on fixed-wing aircraft of all kinds.  From the beginning of their aeronautical work, the Wright brothers focused on developing a reliable method of pilot control as the key to solving “the flying problem”.  This approach differed significantly from other experimenters of the time who put more emphasis on developing powerful engines.  Using a small homebuilt wind tunnel, the Wrights also collected more accurate data than any before, enabling them to design and build wings and propellers that were more efficient than any before.  Their first U.S. patent, #821,393, did not claim invention of a flying machine, but rather, the invention of a system of aerodynamic control that manipulated a flying machine’s surfaces.  They gained the mechanical skills essential for their success by working for years in their shop with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery.  Their work with bicycles in particular influenced their belief that an unstable vehicle like a flying machine could be controlled and balanced with practice.  From 1900 until their first powered flights in late 1903, they conducted extensive glider tests that also developed their skills as pilots.  Their bicycle shop employee Charlie Taylor became an important part of the team, building their first aircraft engine in close collaboration with the brothers.  The Wright brothers’ status as inventors of the airplane has been subject to counter-claims by various parties. Much controversy persists over the many competing claims of early aviators.


Orville Wright (1871 – 1948), 8th cousin 4x removed – Milton Wright (1828 – 1917) – Daniel Wright (1790 – 1861) – Sarah Freeman (1762 – 1848) – Sarah Porter (1741 – 1777) – John Porter (1704 – 1772) – Experience Porter (1676 – 1750) – Hannah Stanley (1635 – 1702) – Thomas Stanley (1604 – 1663) – John Stanley (1572 – 1619) – Timothy Stanley (1604 – 1648) – Elizabeth Stanley (1635 – 1693) – Sarah Sension (1659 – 1714) – Joseph Keeler (1683 – 1757) – Lot Keeler (1720 – 1765) – David Keeler (1746 – 1812) – David Keeler (1771 – 1846) – Sophronia Keeler (1804 – 1879) – William Benson Watkins (1836 – 1898) – Paul Watkins (1864 – 1931) – Florence Eugenie Watkins (1903 – 1985) – Penelope Jane Walholm (1939 – ) – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom



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