1903 Wright Flyer
The Wright Flyer is one of the most Iconic aircraft in the history of aviation.
Wilbur and Orville Wright’s Flyer of 1903 was a success because it combined the known principals of flight as well as ideas they discovered during their own experiments. They studied Otto Lilienthal’s research on bird wings and airfoils, Samuel Langley’s experiments with a steam powered glider. Leonardo da Vinci, Octave Chanute and Sir George Cayley were no less important inspirations to the Wrights. But it was the death of Lilienthal in a crash during a windy flight that galvanised the brothers into action. They realised that although some of the problems of aviation had been solved, little progress had been made concerning the control of an aircraft. As a result of their experiments with a shop-built wind tunnel and hundreds of glider tests, a three-axis control system was developed. This led to the construction of the Flyer, which in 1903 became the first heavier-than-air manned craft to achieve, controlled, sustained flight.