Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright are widely regarded as being the first to invent, build and fly the first successful airplane. There had been many attempts to do so in the past, but any flight achieved was generally short and uncontrolled. This was changed by the Wright brothers when they took to the skies four times on their Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903. The first of these flights, shown above, lasted about 12 seconds, at a speed of 6.8 miles per hour (10.9 km/h) and an altitude of 120 feet (37 m).
The difference with the Wright brother's aircraft was that they managed to invent a system whereby the pilot could actually control the aircraft during flight. This method, the three-axis control system, remains the standard on all subsequent aircraft.
For three years until their successful flight in 1903 they honed their skills with glider flights and by building home-made wind tunnels that allowed them to collect more data than other engineers. This enabled them to build better wings and propellers, leading to their successful flights.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
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