Wright Brothers Type A aeroplane in flight, 24 August 1909.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Orville Wright (1871-1948) and his brother Wilbur (1867-1912) were self-taught American aeroplane pioneers. Orville piloted their aeroplane, named the 'Flyer', at Kitty Hawk on 17 December 1903, making the world's first sustained powered flight. This succes encouraged the brothers to patent their flying machine, the design of which they modified and improved. They formed an aircraft production company in 1909. This Wright Type A aeroplane is being flown by Charles Stewart Rolls (1877-1910), the English motor car manufacturer and aviator. Rolls was the first to make a non-stop double crosing of the English Channel by aeroplane. He was killed in 1910 when his aircraft crashed at the Bournemouth Air Show.