The Wright Stuff

About the Show

On 8 August 1908, at a race track outside Paris, Wilbur Wright executed what was, for him, a routine flight: a smooth take-off banking into a couple of tight circles, finally ending on a perfect landing. The easy flight was over in less than two minutes, but it was the culmination of years of work by the two reclusive brothers from the American midwest. Spectators were awestruck by this first public demonstration of controlled flight, and their flying machine created an immediate international sensation. Without university education, scientific training or financial backing, Wilbur and Orville Wright had solved what for centuries had been one of the most baffling mysteries in science. By the time of the 1908 demonstration, these two bicycle shop owners had not only invented the first practical airplane, they had developed theories and formulas by which flight was understood and patented the use of the 'surface controls' which all aircraft now use for steering.