Only three photos of the 1900 Wright glider survive. This one shows the glider in flight.
The Wright brothers’ flight-testing
program was a key to their success. Extensive trials of their
gliders not only provided valuable performance data, which
was folded back into the evolving design, but also helped
Wilbur and Orville develop piloting skills.
Kiting the Glider
Before making free glides, the Wrights always
tested their gliders by flying them as kites. Kiting provided
valuable information on lift and drag, and enabled them to
get a feel for the controls. The first year they built a tower
with a rope-and-pulley suspension device to test the glider,
but it didn’t prove useful and they soon returned to
Flying the glider
The pilot lay prone on the lower wing to limit
drag. The foot-operated crossbar mounted behind him warped
the wings for lateral balance, turning the glider. The horizontal
hand levers in front of him flexed the forward elevator up
and down, controlling pitch.
William Tate's nephew Tom. Note the glider in the background.
These are two of the three surviving photos
of the 1900 Wright Glider. In one the glider appears behind
William Tate’s nephew Tom, who proudly displays his
catch. The other shows the glider after a gust of wind had
picked up the unattended craft and smashed it into the sand.
The brothers repaired it and continued their flight testing.
...a gust of wind had picked up the unattended craft and smashed it into the sand..
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