The Wright Flyer was uncrated and assembled for the first time since it flew at Kitty Hawk in the summer of 1916, when Orville prepared for its first public display. It was briefly exhibited at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the dedication of several new buildings from June 11-14, 1916.
The first public display of the Wright Flyer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1916.
The rudder and forward elevators were almost entirely rebuilt. The main spars of the upper and lower wing center-sections were replaced, and a number of other parts repaired, such as the wing ribs and the chain guides. The wing center-section fabric was replaced with new Pride of the West muslin, but the outer wing panels retained the original covering from 1903.
The engine crankcase was broken in 1903 and the crankshaft and flywheel lost in 1906, so the engine was rebuilt using parts from a similar engine built in 1904, along with the existing 1903 components. The damaged propellors were replaced, but the flown originals survive, one in the National Air and Space Museum's collection.
The original broken crankcase flown in 1903 survives and is on display at the Wright memorial visitor's center at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Other Public Glimpses of the Flyer
After the M.I.T. display, the Wright Flyer was displayed briefly at the Pan-American Aeronautical Exhibition in New York, February 8-15, 1917; at the Society of Automotive Engineers summer meeting in Dayton, June 17-18, 1918; at the Aeronautical Exposition in New York, March 1-15, 1919; and at the International Air Races in Dayton, October 2-4, 1924. Wright Company mechanic Jim Jacobs was in charge of assembling the Flyer for all these exhibitions.
Orville (left) with the Wright Flyer at the Pan-American Aeronautical Exhibition in 1917.
The Wright Flyer was assembled on one other occasion in this period. In January 1921, it was set up at South Field in Dayton for the purposes of preparing testimony in the Regina Cleary Montgomery et. al vs. the Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation patent suit. No engine or propellers were mounted on the airplane this time.
Photographs of the Flyer, minus engine and propellers, used as exhibits in patent suit testimony, 1921.