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it produced inadequate lift, the Wrights mostly flew their first glider as a kite at Kitty
Hawk during October 1900. Sometimes loaded with 75 pounds of chains; sometimes with the
elevator in the rear, they mostly flew it with wing warp immobilized, although Wilbur
piloted it a few times (totaling about 2 minutes) to verify effectiveness of the wing
warping. There are also statements in letters written by the brothers
afterwards that the glider was flown with a tail (probably similar to the
tail on a Chanute glider), and that they flew it with the pilot (Wilbur) not
just in the prone position, but also hanging beneath it like a Chanute or
This biplane glider had straight wings with 17-foot span; 5-foot chord; 5-foot
separation; 165 sq-foot area; 1/20 camber (relaxed to 1/23); and 50-52 lb. overall
weight. It originally had a fixed tail, but this was eliminated sometime
during the Wright's flying experiments.
Despite its poor lift, the Wrights used three features of the 1900 glider on all their
subsequent aircraft: biplane wings, wing warp for roll control, and the flexible elevator.
They used the front elevator until the 1910 Model B, and the prone pilot position to
reduce air resistance until the 1908 Model A.
After the tests, the Wrights abandoned the glider at Kitty Hawk, NC. Tate family
salvaged it; used wing covering for daughter's dress.
- McFarland, 1953, 1183-1184, & plate 14, 16, 17.
- Kelly, 1943, pp 35, 49, & 54
- Wright, Orville in Kelly, 1953, p 13-15.
- McFarland, Marvin W. (ed) The papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright. McGraw-Hill Book Co.,
New York, 1953, pp 1183-1184, & plate 14, 16, 17.
- Kelly, Fred C. The Wright Brothers, a Biography. Harcourt, Brace and Co., New York,
1943, pp 35, 49, 54.
- Wright, Orville, "How We Invented the Airplane." (from depositions in
Montgomery vs. U.S. 13 Jan 20 and 2 Feb 21; in Kelly, Fred C. (editor) How We Invented the
Airplane, an Illustrated History. Dover Publications, New York, 1953, p 13-15)
[Submitted by Joe W. McDaniel]
The 1900 Wright glider -- Wilbur and Orville's first man-carrying airplane --
being flown as a kite.
Compare the original glider to the
we made and flew on the centennial anniversary of the Wright's first