Past Masters An Idea In Flight The Kite's Legacy
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The Wright brothers' first flying machine was a toy, built when both brothers were still children. Although it flew, it was evidence more of their mechanical curiosity and aptitude than a precocious interest in flight.

The Wright Story
The Wright "Bat"
Education Feature: The death of Lilienthal
What Came Before?
The Wrights acknowledged the work of their predecessors often, giving credit to those they admired and who had inspired their own progress. Their highest praise went to those who approached flight scientifically. Absorbing the lessons of the past was the Wrights' first critical step in their discoveries.
Cayley glider Sir George Cayley: Cayley's groundbreaking experiments were the basis for most of the serious experimenters of the 19th century.
Penuad planophore Alphonse Pénaud: A true visionary, Pénaud was the first to build a stable heavier-than-air flying machine, and was the inspiration for the Wright "bat."
Chanute glider Octave Chanute: The closest thing the Wrights had to a mentor, Chanute was both an inspiration and a sounding board for the Wrights' ideas and investigations.
Langley and Manly Samuel Pierpont Langley: Typically cast as a competitor of the Wrights, Langley in fact was an important inspiration to the Wrights, who always held him and his pilot, Charles Manly, in high regard.

©2002, The Wright Experience™