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The Wright brothers – Orville and Wilbur – were two American aviation pioneers generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world's first successful motor-operated airplane. They made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft with the Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903, 4 mi (6 km) south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The brothers were also the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.
The history of aviation extends for more than two thousand years, from the earliest forms of aviation such as kites and attempts at tower jumping to supersonic and hypersonic flight by powered, heavier-than-air jets.
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1903:
Gustave Albin Whitehead was an aviation pioneer who emigrated from Germany to the United States where he designed and built gliders, flying machines, and engines between 1897 and 1915. Controversy surrounds published accounts and Whitehead's own claims that he flew a powered machine successfully several times in 1901 and 1902, predating the first flights by the Wright Brothers in 1903.
Thomas Etholen Selfridge was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and the first person to die in an airplane crash. He was also the first active-duty member of the U.S. military to die in a crash while on duty. He was killed while seated as a passenger in the Wright Flyer, on a demonstration flight piloted by Orville Wright.
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1909:
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1907:
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1905:
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1904:
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1902:
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1901:
This is a list of aviation-related events during the 19th century :
The Wright Flyer was the first successful heavier-than-air powered aircraft. Designed and built by the Wright brothers, they flew it four times on December 17, 1903, near Kill Devil Hills, about 6 kilometers south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Today, the airplane is exhibited in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. The U.S. Smithsonian Institution describes the aircraft as "the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard." The flight of the Wright Flyer marks the beginning of the "pioneer era" of aviation.
Early flying machines include all forms of aircraft studied or constructed before the development of the modern aeroplane by 1910. The story of modern flight begins more than a century before the first successful manned aeroplane, and the earliest aircraft thousands of years before.
Gabriel Voisin was a French aviation pioneer and the creator of Europe's first manned, engine-powered, heavier-than-air aircraft capable of a sustained (1 km), circular, controlled flight, which was made by Henry Farman on January 13, 1908 near Paris, France. During World War I the company founded by Voisin became a major producer of military aircraft, notably the Voisin III. Subsequently, he switched to the design and production of luxury automobiles under the name Avions Voisin.
The Wright Flyer II was the second powered aircraft built by Wilbur and Orville Wright. During 1904 they used it to make a total of 105 flights, ultimately achieving flights lasting five minutes and also making full circles, which was accomplished by Wilbur for the first time on September 20.
The Langley Aerodrome was a pioneering but unsuccessful manned, tandem wing-configuration powered flying machine; designed at the close of the 19th century by Smithsonian Institution Secretary Samuel Langley. The U.S. Army paid $50,000 for the project in 1898 after Langley's successful flights with small-scale unmanned models two years earlier.
The Wright brothers designed, built and flew a series of three manned gliders in 1900–1902 as they worked towards achieving powered flight. They also made preliminary tests with a kite in 1899. In 1911 Orville conducted tests with a much more sophisticated glider. Neither the kite nor any of the gliders were preserved, but replicas of all have been built.
The pioneer era of aviation was the period of aviation history between the first successful powered flight, generally accepted to have been made by the Wright Brothers on 17 December 1903, and the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914.
Several aviators have been claimed as the first to fly a powered aeroplane. Much controversy has surrounded these claims. It is most widely held today that the Wright Brothers were the first to fly successfully; they methodically studied every aspect of flight, and achieved masterful control of their aircraft. Brazil regards Alberto Santos-Dumont as the first successful aviator because the Wright Flyer took off from a rail. An editorial in Jane's All the World's Aircraft's 2013 edition supported the claim of Gustave Whitehead.