Commemorating the First Flights of the Wright Brothers December 17, 1903

‹--Return to the Shrine

Wilbur Wright

1867 - 1912

Orville Wright

1871 - 1948

First To Achieve Successful Powered Flight In A Heavier-Than-Air-Machine, 1903

Inducted in 1966

The Wright brothers made the world's first four successful airplane flights on the cold, windswept sands of North Carolina's Outer Banks. Their "Flyer" lifted from level ground to the north of Big Kill Devil Hill at 10:35 a.m. on December 17, 1903. Orville piloted the 605-pound machine during the first flight, traveling 120 feet in 12 seconds.

Although Wilbur achieved the best results of the day on the fourth and final flight, 852 feet in 59 seconds, it is Orville's earlier flight that is best remembered. As Orville later described:

"This flight lasted only 12 seconds, but it was nevertheless the first in the history of the world in which a machine carrying a man had raised itself by its own power into the air in full flight, had sailed forward without a reduction in speed, and had finally landed at a point as high as that from which it began."

With these four successful flights, Wilbur and Orville Wright launched the world into the age of aviation.