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Timescope - Questions from Our Cultural History

Question: Where was the first airplane sucessfully flown?

Answer: Kitty Hawk, North Carolina


Wilbur and Orville Wright were inspired by a rubber band powered whirligig toy that their father brought them home from a trip. Though they were interested in flight, they went into first a printing business and then a bicycle shop.

In Europe, Otto Lilienthal had been experimenting with gliders. This made the Wright brothers more interested in exploring manned flight. Using the information they could glean from published reports of Otto's gliders, they constructed their first attempt at an airplane. It failed. They decided not to use the information they had from the glider, but to experiment and redesign their craft.

On December 17th, 1903, a cold blustery day on the outer bank near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, they succeeded in taking off, flying for 17 seconds, and landing at the same level as the take-off. Thus the age of heavier than air, manned flight was born.