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wright brothers

Centennial of Flight

wright flyer
wright outline
Wilbur and Orvile

Orville and Wilbur Wright


"Testing the Wright Flyer gives us a chance to relive history,"
said Craig Hange, Ames' wind tunnel test engineer. "By understanding the flying characteristics of the Wright Flyer, we gain a better
understanding of the Wright brothers' science and engineering skills, as well as an appreciation of the process that led to the development of the airplanes we fly today."


Wright Flyer Replic Suspended

Wright Flyer Replica Testing

Wright Flyer Replica in Wind Tunnel Wright Flyer Replica
Wright Flyer Replica with Test Pilot Wright Flyer sideview
  moon rocks and soil samples

In March of 1999, a full-scale replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer was mounted in NASA Ames Research Center's 40-foot by 80-foot wind tunnel for tests to build a historically accurate aerodynamic database of the Flyer. For two weeks, project engineers studied the replica's stability, control and handling at speeds up to 27 knots (30 mph) in the wind tunnel. The Wright Flyer replica was constructed by a team of volunteers from the Los Angeles section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) using plans provided by the Smithsonian. The replica featured a 40-foot-4-inch wingspan reinforced with piano wire, cotton wing coverings, spruce propellers and a double rudder. Although it will replicate the 1903 Wright Flyer in design, size, appearance and aerodynamics, some changes were made to make it stronger for mounting in the wind tunnel.

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Wright Flyer Images

Wright Brothers Artifacts

NASA Quest: Centennial of Flight- Rediscovering the Challenges of Flight

NASA Quest: Centennial of Flight: Aero Expo IV

The First Century of Flight: NACA/NASA Contritution to Aeronautics



NASA Begins Testing Replica of Historic 1903 Wright Flyer

NASA Celebrates 100 Years Of Flight With Wright Artifacts



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