Wright Brothers



(1871-1948) (1867-1912)


The Wright brothers achieved one of humanity’s wildest dreams when they flew the first self-powered airplane. For years these self-taught engineers, who designed and made bicycles for a living, experienced failure after failure in the tedious testing of kites and gliders, but they continued to believe in the impossible -- that humans could fly. With courage, perseverance, teamwork and faith in the scientific method, they eventually achieved the dream of flight on the windy sands of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903. 

“When my brother and I began experimenting (with flight) in 1900 it was purely for the pleasure of it. We did not expect to get back a cent of the money we spent.” - Wilbur Wright


When They Flew

(By Jonathan Sprout & Dave Kinnoin)

On the windswept outer banks of Carolina,

Where the sand dunes seem to stretch to the sky,

There were two men at the turn of the Century,

Determined to learn how to fly.

On a cold gusty day in December

They let their invention roll free.

There was no turning back

When that plane left the track

And sailed into history.


REFRAIN:       When they flew,

                        They had the future in their eyes.

                        When they flew

                        They were captains of the skies.

                        When their dream came true,

                        The whole world knew

                        Of Wilbur and Orville when they flew.


It isn’t easy to imagine how they did it

With failures every step of the way.

But their faith wouldn’t let them ever to quit it,

No matter what others might say.

In the end, it was hard work and persistence

That began with a dream and a kite.

All the years of devotion they set into motion

That made them the first in flight.





And after all these years

Time and again

I hear a plane go by and remember...


When their dream came true

The whole world knew

Of Wilbur and Orville when they flew.

©2000 Kanukatunes & Songwizard Music

“I cannot but believe that we stand at the beginning of a new era, The Age of Flight.”Orville Wright 

Orville & Wilbur had confidence that their experiments with kites would prepare them satisfactorily for the creation of the first flying machines. Their logical one-small-step-at-a-time approach to achieving this amazing invention proved sound and exemplary. They dreamed. They visualized. They sketched, practiced with models and gradually, methodically reached a point where they were literally off the ground and flying thanks to their confidence, perseverance and trial-and-error approach. 

You can do almost anything you put your mind to. In their day, it was considered impossible to fly because no one had ever flown before. The Wright Brothers did what was considered impossible by believing it could happen and by putting their minds to work finding a way. 

To many people in their day, Wilbur & Orville created a miracle. Now, we look back on their accomplishment and realize how possible flying is. Then it was a miracle. Now it is commonplace. Can you think of doing something that most people would now consider a miracle, but that in time, might be looked upon as commonplace. 

I visited the Wright Brothers historical site at a place called Kill Devil Hills in the little town of Kitty Hawk, NC and I recommend a visit. When you can see how far they actually flew, when you can walk the distance and imagine what it was like for them on that cold windy day, their accomplishments are easier to appreciate. 

I had the opportunity to ask a lot of questions of the park rangers on my visit. I wanted to know why Wilbur and Orville were dressed in business suits in nearly all of their photographs. Wasn’t it impractical? Wouldn’t they rather have been wearing clothing they could feel more comfortable in and clothes they could feel more comfortable getting dirty? The answer: they wore their business suits all the time because that’s what gentlemen did. It didn’t matter how many people could see them in their suits. It didn’t matter how uncomfortable the clothing was. That’s what gentlemen did.


Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, NC  

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park in Dayton, OH 

Wright Brothers Timeline  

Milestones of Flight