1903 Wright Flyer

Flight Notes - how to fly the 1903 Wright Flyer

It was one of the world's most stunning achievements in one of the most unstable flying machines ever built. Two bicycle builders from Dayton, Ohio in the United States made the first successful powered flight in their wood and fabric flyer. Looking more like a kite than anything we recognize today as an airplane, the Wright Flyer is nonetheless recognized around the world as an icon of aviation history.

One of the remarkable aspects of the Wright Brothers' flights is that they had to learn to fly their craft while flying it! There was no manual and no flight instructorójust a passion to make it work and the courage to try.

If you use the Hard realism setting, the Flyer can be difficult to control, especially in turns. You can get a feel for what Orville and Wilbur experienced by taking off at Kill Devil Hills. The structure and flight capabilities of the Flyer make it suitable for only short flights.


U.S. Metric
Maximum Speed 35 mph 30.4 knots 56 km per hour
Service Ceiling < 30 feet < 9 meters
Engine One 12 horsepower Wright engine
Empty Weight 603 pounds 274 kilograms
Fuel Capacity .25 gallon .95 liter
Length 21 feet 6 meters
Wingspan 40 feet 12 meters
Wing Area 510 square feet 155 square meters
Passenger 1