Wing rib construction
Unlike the solid, steam-bent wing ribs of
the earlier gliders, the ribs of the 1903 Flyer were built
up from two thin strips of ash with small blocks in between.
The curvature of the airfoil was 1 in 20, slightly greater
than on the 1902 glider.
Double layer fabric covering
The Wrights further refined the wings by covering
the bottom surfaces with fabric. This resulted in a smoother
overall wing surface, which enhanced its aerodynamic efficiency.
The wooden structure once again “floated” inside
fabric pockets, now sewn to the inside of the lower fabric
layer. The brothers continued to apply the fabric on the bias
(the direction of the weave at a 45-degree angle) to increase
the stiffness of the wings.
The Wrights cleverly supported the middle
of the wing struts with a fine wire, secured on both sides
so the struts would not flex under flight loads. To achieve
the same strength without the wire would have required thicker,
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