Wright Flyer, 1903.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
View of the replica of the first Wright Brothers' aeroplane, showing the propellers. Orville Wright (1871-1948) and his brother Wilbur (1867-1912) were self-taught American aeroplane pioneers. They became the first to fly in a heavier-than-air machine, when on 17 December 1903 their aeroplane 'Flyer' made a succesful sustained flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Encouraged by this, they abandoned their cycle busines and patented their flying machine, and in 1909 formed an aircraft production company.