Wrights leave Kitty Hawk.
Wrights conduct experiments with propellers and begin to build their 1903 four-cylinder engine.
Orville Wright’s classmate, Paul Laurence Dunbar, giving a speech in the women’s dining room at the National Cash Register Company on January 6, 1903. Image from the NCR Archive at Dayton History.
right brothers apply for a patent on their flying machine (patent issued May 22, 1906).
Wilbur and Orville arrive at Kitty Hawk.
September 28–November 12
Wrights experiment with 1902 glider.
October 9–November 4
Brothers assemble the 1903 machine and install the engine.
November 5–December 9
Propeller shafts break twice and brothers return to Dayton to repair them and obtain replacements.
Wilbur makes the first, but unsuccessful, attempt to fly a powered machine from slope of Big Kill Devil Hill. Machine stalls after 3-1/2 seconds in the air and lands 105 feet below.
Wilbur and Orville make the first free, controlled, and sustained flights in a power-driven, heavier-than-air machine. Three men from the Kill Devil Life Saving Station and two from Nags Head witness the four trial flights. First trial is made by Orville at 10:35 A.M., stays twelve seconds in the air, and flies 120 feet. John T. Daniels photographs the first flight with Orville’s camera. Wilbur makes the longest flight in the fourth trial, fifty-nine seconds in the air and 852 feet.
Wrights leave Kitty Hawk.
Harry A. Toulmin was the Springfield, Ohio attorney who helped the Wright’s secure a patent for their flying machine in 1906. This check is initialed by Wilbur Wright. From the collections of Dayton History.
Wrights employ Harry A. Toulmin, a patent attorney, to work on their patent case.
Wrights apply for French and German patents on their airplane.
At Huffman Prairie, a large meadow near Dayton, Wilbur and Orville build a new heavier and stronger machine with a more powerful motor.
Wrights make practice flights with their new 1904 machine at Huffman Prairie—total flying time is forty-nine minutes. Wilbur makes the first turn in the air on September 15 and the first complete circle on September 20. Longest flight of the year is five minutes four seconds, 2-3/4 miles—almost four circles around the field.
U.S. Board of Ordnance and Fortification rejects the Wrights’ offer of sale of their airplane.
Wright brothers finish work on a 1905 machine and begin making flights in it at Huffman Prairie. Orville Wright pictured here turning to the left in the last photographed flight (No. 46) of 1905; Huffman Prairie, Dayton, Ohio. (From the collections of the Library of Congress.)
Wilbur makes the longest flight of the year: 24-1/5 miles in 39 minutes, 23-4/5 seconds, more than twenty-nine times around the field, at an average speed of thirty-eight miles per hour.
U.S. Board of Ordnance and Fortification declines the Wrights’ second offer of their airplane.
Wrights join the Aero Club of America.
U.S. Patent Office grants the Wrights patent, No. 821,393, for a flying machine.
Brothers travel to Europe to negotiate for the sale of the Wright airplane abroad. Hart O. Berg and Flint & Company are their agents.
Wilbur meets with officials from U.S. Signal Corps and Board of Ordnance to discuss their airplane’s capabilities.
U.S. Signal Corps advertises for bids for a military heavier-than-air flying machine to be submitted by February 1.
Wrights submit their bid to U.S. Signal Corps to supply a heavier-than-air flying machine, weighing between 1,100 and 1,250 pounds, carrying two passengers, and flying at a speed of forty miles per hour.
The Wright brothers’ contract with the United States government for the purchase of “one heavier than air flying machine. (” Image below from the William Preston Mayfield/Marvin Christian Collection at Dayton History. Wrights’ bid to furnish a flying machine to U.S. War Department for $25,000 is accepted.
Wilbur and Orville arrive in Kitty Hawk to brush up on their flying skills.
Wrights carry a passenger on a flight for the first time: Charles W. Furnas flies with Wilbur.
Wilbur arrives in Paris to demonstrate the capabilities of the Wright airplane in Europe.
Wilbur makes his first flight at Le Mans, France—the Wrights’ first flight in Europe.
Wright 1908 airplane is assembled and ready for testing at Fort Myer, Virginia.
Orville makes U.S. Army test flights at Fort Myer and establishes records with and without passengers.
Orville and sister Katharine arrive in Dayton after his discharge from the hospital in Fort Myer.
La Compagnie Générale de Navigation Aérienne, the French Wright company, organized.
Wilbur wins 1908 Michelin Cup and a prize of twenty thousand francs with his flight of 123 kilometers, two hundred meters in two hours, 18 minutes, 33-3/5 seconds. He extends this same flight to break a new world record in a time of two hours, 20 minutes, 23-1/5 seconds over 124 kilometers, 700 meters.
Orville and Katharine join Wilbur in Paris.
Wilbur arrives at Pau, France. Orville and Katharine join him a few days later.
Wilbur makes a series of training flights with three French student pilots at Pau. .
Congressional Medal is awarded to the Wrights by resolution of Congress (H.J. Resolution 246), “in recognition of the great service of Orville and Wilbur Wright, of Ohio, rendered the science of aerial navigation in the invention of the Wright aeroplane, and for their ability, courage, and success in navigating the air.” Medal is presented to the brothers on June 18.
Wilbur arrives in Rome to make demonstration flights and train two Italian pilots. Orville and Katharine arrive April 9.
Wrights arrive in New York.
Flugmaschine Wright Gesellschaft, the German Wright company in Berlin, is formed.
Wrights perform propeller tests in Dayton to determine cause of the Fort Myer accident in order to prevent similar future accidents.
Two-day celebration thrown by the city of Dayton to honor the Wright brothers. A great celebration of the Wright brother’s achievements was held in Dayton on June 17 & 18, 1909. Downtown streets were decorated for the parade held in the Wright’s honor; the celebration also included concerts, honors and fireworks. Image from the Albert Kern Collection at Dayton History.
At the Wright Brothers’ Home Days Celebration, Orville and Wilbur were presented with the Congressional Gold Medal and medals from the State of Ohio and the City of Dayton.Image from the William Preston Mayfield/Marvin Christian Collection at Dayton History.
A “living flag” made up of school children dressed in red, white and blue was a highlight of the 1909 celebration that honored the Wright brothers. Image from the collections of Dayton History.
Wilbur and Orville arrive in Washington, D.C. to resume trial flights at Fort Myer for U.S. government.
Glenn H. Curtiss sells his Curtiss airplane, the first commercial sale of an airplane in the United States, to Aeronautic Society of New York for $7,500. Sale sets in motion the beginning of the Wrights’ patent suit against Curtiss.
With Lt. Frank P. Lahm as his passenger, Orville flies for one hour, 12 minutes, 37-4/5 seconds. Flight fulfills the Army’s requirements and is witnessed by President Taft, his cabinet, and other public officials as well as an estimated crowd of ten thousand spectators at Fort Myer.
Orville and Katharine leave for Europe for demonstration flights and sales negotiations in Germany.
Wrights begin a patent suit against Herring-Curtiss Company and Glenn H. Curtiss by filing a bill of complaint to prevent them from manufacturing, selling, or using in exhibition the Curtiss airplane.
Wrights file suit against Aeronautic Society of New York to prevent further exhibition and use of the Curtiss airplane owned by the society because it infringes on Wright patents.
As part of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration, Wilbur flies round-trip demonstration flights from Governors Island, New York, to the Statue of Liberty and Grant’s Tomb, New York City. More than one million spectators present.
October 8–November 2
At College Park, Maryland, Wilbur trains first U.S. Army fliers.
Wright Company, formed to manufacture their airplanes, is incorporated; Wilbur serves as president and Orville as vice president. A few days later, Wrights sell their American patent rights to the company for $100,000, 40 percent of the company stock and a 10 percent royalty for every airplane built. When the Wright Company was incorporated, it rented space in the Speedwell Motor Car Company factory on Dayton’s west side. Image from the NCR Archive at Dayton History.
Wright Company moves forward on patent lawsuits. Wilbur and Orville give affidavits and attend trial for The Wright Company v. Herring-Curtiss Company and Glenn H. Curtiss patent suit.
Wright Company and Wright brothers continue their involvement in patent suits.
MarchWright Exhibition Company formed, with Roy Knabenshue as manager