Orville Wright, American aviator, c 1905.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Orville Wright (1871-1948), together with his brother Wilbur (1867-1912), was an American co-inventor and pioneer of early flight. They developed and fitted a light weight engine to their aircraft Flyer I which was piloted by Orville on 17 December 1903. This was the first powered and controlled aircraft flight, although Flyer III, built in 1905, was the first efficient plane and by 1909 the American army had ordered a military version.