Wright Brothers aircraft 'Flyer', 1903.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Side view of the 'Flyer' on its launch rail at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. Orville Wright (1871-1948) and his brother Wilbur (1867-1912) were self-taught American aeroplane pioneers. Orville piloted this aeroplane at Kitty Hawk on 17 December 1903, making the world's first sustained powered flight. This succes encouraged the brothers to abandon their cycle busines and patent their flying machine. They formed an aircraft production company in 1909.