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Wright Brothers, 1900

Glider built by the Wright brothers in September 1900. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Glider built by the Wright brothers in September 1900. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Bicycles to Flyers
 After limited success in the printing business, Wilbur and Orville Wright decided to sell and repair bicycles. They opened up the first of several bicycle shops in 1893, and three years later, the Wrights began building bicycles of their own design. The successful bicycle business provided the funds for their flight experiments, and it expanded their knowledge of building machines.

The Wright brothers became actively interested in flying in 1895. They read everything on flying they could obtain, even though most of the material available was based theory and not fact.

In August 1899 the Wright brothers built a 5-foot span biplane kite to test their idea of warping wings for lateral control. Building on the success of this kite, they constructed a 17-foot span glider in September 1900. After a nationwide search for a location with high, steady winds, the Wrights chose a remote area known as Kill Devil Hills in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. In their test of this glider at Kill Devil Hills, the Wrights flew it both as a kite and a piloted glider. The aircraft was not completely satisfactory, however, because it flew poorly and proved difficult to control in a gusty wind.

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