All illustrations by Berat Pekmezci

The Wright Brothers

A cold wind blew across a beach in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It was December 17, 1903. A man named Orville Wright bravely climbed aboard a small airplane. He had built it with his brother Wilbur. They called it the Wright Flyer

Orville’s flight lasted only 12 seconds. But it was the first time a pilot had flown a plane with an engine. The Wright brothers had just made history!

Curious Kids

Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, the Wright brothers dreamed about flying. At the time, people flew mainly in hot-air balloons and gliders. In 1899, Orville and Wilbur set out to build a plane with an engine. 

The brothers spent years trying different designs. They had several problems to solve. The pair had to figure out how to power the aircraft and lift it off the ground. They also had to figure out how a pilot could control the plane.  

Soaring into the Future

In 1903, the brothers finished the Wright Flyer. It had two long wings covered in fabric. It also had an engine.  

After their first flights in Kitty Hawk, the Wrights worked to improve their planes. In 1905, Wilbur flew 24 miles in 39 minutes. 

Wilbur died in 1912. Orville lived another 36 years. He saw how his inventions inspired others to build bigger and better aircraft.

Today, it’s hard to imagine a world without planes. Thanks to these pioneers, we don’t have to.

1. How did people fly when the Wright brothers were growing up?

2. Based on the text and illustrations, what did the Wright Flyer look like? 

3. The article states that the Wright brothers’ inventions inspired others. What do you think this means? Use evidence from the article to support your answer. 

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