1903: First Powered Flight
Innovation: First Powered Flight
Location: Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
By: Orville and Wilbur Wright
Despite their claim being shroud in controversy, the Wright brothers are credited with the invention of the airplane and the first powered flight on December 17, 1903 . Earlier attempts at flight consisted of gliders, balloons, and engine-focused aircraft, which offered minimal direction control . In contrast, the Wright brothers developed a fixed-wing, three-axis system which enabled pitch, roll, and yaw control for the pilot . They patented this “system of aerodynamic control that manipulated a flying machine’s surfaces” under U.S. patent 821,393, and by June 1905 had constructed the first practical fixed-wing aircraft.
Later applications of the air plane range from warfare to passenger and goods transportation. Today, it is still the only fast and reliable method of cross-ocean transit, which makes powered flight vital for face-to-face, intercontinental communication and the development of building technologies.