Did You Know…that Orville and Wilbur Wright were the only two in their immediate family never to attend college?


Wright Brothers Day is celebrated in the United States on December 17 each year. The date commemorates the Wright brothers’ first successful flight in heavier-than-air, mechanically propelled craft, accomplished on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The day has been observed nationally since 1959 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation declaring it as Wright Brothers Day.

The brothers gained the mechanical skills essential to their success by working for years in their Dayton, Ohio-based shop with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery. Their work with bicycles influenced their belief that an unstable vehicle such as a flying machine could be controlled and balanced with practice. From 1900 until their first powered flights in late 1903, they conducted extensive glider tests that also developed their skills as pilots. Their shop employee Charlie Taylor became an important part of the team, building their first airplane engine in close collaboration with the brothers.

Wind, sand, and a dream of flight brought Wilbur and Orville Wright to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina where, after four years of scientific experimentation, they achieved the first successful airplane flights that December day.

NASA named the first Martian take-off and landing area for the 2021 Ingenuity helicopter “Wright Brothers Field.” Ingenuity arrived on Mars stored under the Perseverance rover as part of the Mars 2020 mission, was flown five times from Wright Brothers Field between April 19 and May 7, 2021, and was flown away from the field on its fifth flight on May 7.

The helicopter carries a small piece of wing fabric from the 1903 Wright Flyer attached to a cable underneath its solar panel. In 1969, Neil Armstrong carried a similar Wright Flyer artifact to the Moon in the Lunar Module Eagle during Apollo 11.

Crouch, Tom D. (2003). The Bishop’s Boys: A life of Wilbur and Orville Wright. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-30695-X.
Potter, Sean (March 23, 2021). “NASA Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Prepares for First Flight”. NASA.
Strickland, Ashley. “NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity successfully completed its historic first flight”. CNN. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
Johnson, Alana; Hautaluoma, Grey; Agle, DC; Northon, Karen (April 19, 2021). “Release 21-039 – NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Succeeds in Historic First Flight”. NASA. Retrieved April 20, 2021.