While we travel a long distance in comfort at the speed of sound we hardly think of those people who took enormous risks and even lost their lives, in bringing the airplane to its present shape and speed. In the evolution of air travel, the names that stand out most are Wilber Wright and Orville Wright, popularly known as Wright Brothers.
Wilber and Orville Wright were the Sons of Milton Wright, a clergyman by Profession, and got married at the age of 41 with Susan Kathrine. Among their five children, Wilbur was born in 1867 an Orville in 1871.
In 1878 when Wilbur was 11 and Orville 7 years old father gave them a toy which could fly to the ceiling of the room. The boys were very much excited to see the flying toy. They thought if such a small toy can fly to the ceiling a bigger one can fly higher, definitely. Elder Wilbur started making a similar toy on a larger scale.
Meanwhile, they did some other jobs. Orville developed a fairly big printing press and brothers started printing newspapers and magazines. After the failure in newspapers, they started making bicycles. Several others tried to invent a mechanism to fly but were not in success. In 1896 Otto Lilienthal of Germany died in a sliding attempt.
One day Wilbur noticed a box which had bend edges, and he thought wings should be designed in such a way that they could be moved up and down during the flight.
However, they did not give up hope and tried again and again. On December 17, 1903, Orville made the world’s first controlled, 12 horse powered biplane which he and his brother had designed and built. This plane reached a height of 10 feet and stayed aloft for 12 Seconds covering a distance of 37 meters. In the fourth flight, Wilber was able to fly a distance of 850 feet in one minute.
After this Wilbur went to France in 1908 and made several flights up to 91 meters, but died in 1912 due to typhoid. Orville was able to see the flying speeds rise from 300 miles per hour to supersonic speed. He died on January 30, 1948, at Dayton.