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100th Anniversary Logo with the 100 in large letters and the museum logo
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.
FREE Admission & Parking

Original 1903 Wright Flyer Fabric

The world's first successful, controlled, powered, manned heavier-than-air craft, the Wright 1903 Flyer, made only four flights, all on Dec. 17 of that year, before a gust of wind overturned it and damaged it extensively. Rather than repair it, the Wrights developed improved versions, but fortunately, the frail 1903 aircraft was preserved at the Science Museum in London, England. After World War II, it was returned to the U.S. for permanent exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Following the restoration of the 1903 Wright Flyer, pieces of the original fabric from the damaged aircraft were preserved by members of the Wright family. This section of white cotton muslin, measuring 127-1/2 square feet, covered the left half of the lower wing. It was presented to the National Museum of the United States Air Force by descendants of the Wright brothers on Dec. 17, 1981, the 78th anniversary of the Wrights' historic flight.

Donated by Mrs. Ivonette Wright Miller, Mr. Horace Wright, Mr. John H. Jameson, Mr. G. Wilkinson Wright, and Mr. Milton Wright.