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1900 Wright Glider (reproduction)

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This object is on display in The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age exhibition at the National Mall building.


On their path to the first successful powered airplane, the 1903 Wright Flyer, the Wright brothers built three full-size gliders to test their design ideas regarding control, aerodynamics, and structures. The first one in 1900 produced less lift than the brothers' calculations predicted, but its wing-warping system for lateral control and forward elevator for pitch control worked beautifully. The Wrights primarily flew the 1900 glider as a kite, with no pilot aboard, to test its performance, but they did make a few free glides with Wilbur Wright as pilot, totaling two minutes in the air.

None of the three experimental Wright gliders exist. The Wrights did not preserve them because they saw them merely as research tools, and they were rather beat up from testing. This reproduction was built during the 2003 Wright centennial year. Numerous groups and individuals built reproduction Wright aircraft to celebrate the first century of powered flight and to learn more about the Wright brothers' inventive process.

Gift of Ken Hyde and the Wright Experience Team.

Manufacturer: Ken Hyde and the Wright Experience Team

Date: 2003

Country of Origin: United States of America

Dimensions: Wingspan: 5.2 m (17 ft)
Length: 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in)
Height: 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in)
Weight: 23.6 kg (52 lb)

Materials: Framework: spruce and ash Covering: fabric

Physical Description:Full-size reproduction of the Wright brothers' 1900 glider, built in 2003. Fabric-covered wooden-frame biplane, with no vertical tail. Only a horizontal forward elevator. Natural fabric finish; no sealant or paint of any kind.

Inventory number: A20050452000

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