Who Were Wilbur and Orville?
1889 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905
1900
Test Flying the Glider
Kitty Hawk: Testing Grounds
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.
1900 Wright Glider in Flight
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 kiting.
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.
Tom Tate at Kitty Hawk
William Tate's nephew Tom. Note the glider in the background.
Rare photos
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.
1900 Wright Glider Wrecked
...a gust of wind had picked up the unattended craft and smashed it into the sand..

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Richard Anemometer

Richard Anemometer
The Wrights borrowed this French-made, hand-held anemometer from Octave Chanute and used it to measure wind speeds during their flight tests at Kitty Hawk.