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Wright Brothers, 1901

The second Wright glider was flown at Kitty Hawk, N.C., in July and August 1901. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The second Wright glider was flown at Kitty Hawk, N.C., in July and August 1901. (U.S. Air Force photo)


Encouraged by their experience with their first glider, the Wrights built a 22-foot span glider in 1901. It followed the basic design of their first glider but incorporated a pilot's hip-cradle for operating the wing-warping control cables. The Wrights flew this glider at Kill Devil Hills in the summer of 1901, and on one flight they traveled 389 feet.

Even so, the glider's wings did not provide as much lift as they had calculated. As a result, the Wrights began to question the validity of the Lilienthal aerodynamic tables they used. The Wrights decided to perfect their own mathematical tables for airfoil lift and drag -- this decision became a milestone on the way to success.

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