How advanced an airplane did the Wright brothers get to see?

It is controversial in that some people believe war is sometimes necessary.

That is not incompatible with a belief that war sucks.


To reiterate Gary’s instructions, let’s stick to the OP and drop the debate about warfare.

General Questions Moderator

ETA: This includes Mr. Excellent’s post.

If that art still exists, I wouldn’t know where. The oldest art I have from either one of them dates back to the 30s.

Not just the jet age, but the supersonic age. The X-1 first broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, Orville Wright died on January 30, 1948. The government tried to keep that milestone secret at first, and I’m not sure exactly when the news was released to the public. Wright lived long enough to see it, but may not have known about it before his death.

Good point. I’d bet he was told, privately.

My family visited the Air and Space Museum last summer and saw the original Wright Flyer on display. Mounted on a wall nearby is a framed, maybe 3x3" bit of original wing fabric from the plane, along with a certificate signed by the three Apollo 11 astronauts attesting to the fact that it was taken to the Moon and back. From Kitty Hawk to Tranquility Base in just 66 years! Pretty amazing.

Mildly off topic.

I read somewhere that the Navy* still sends a formation flight over Kitty Hawk on Dec 17 every year to commerate the Wright Brothers’ first flight. They try to time it so the formation arrives at the correct time, as well. It is apparently some sort of tradition (and one I would love to see).

Does anyone know if: a) this is true?, and b) if it’s still done?

*I would’ve thought the Air Force would be doing this, but I’m pretty sure the article I read said Navy (?)

My grandfather also met Orville Wright: I think it says something about how important and revolutionary he was that apparently everyone who ever met him made sure to mention it to their grandchildren!

My only guess would be that it is about 75 miles to Norfolk, where there is a ton of Navy flyers, not sure where the nearest AF base is.

Sorry, I wrote a comment before I saw the moderator warnings.

But don’t assume you know how he felt about it. He may have felt proud that airplanes helped shorten the war.

There are other notable Wright Brother exhibits within driving distance of where I am:

  • In the National Museum of the United States Air Force, outside Dayton, Ohio
  • The original 1905 Wright Flyer III, in the Carillon Historical Park, Dayton, Ohio
  • The Wright Brothers house, which was (of course) originally in Dayton, Ohio, but which is now in Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan.

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Pope Air Force Base and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point are all located in eastern North Carolina near Kitty Hawk

Not very near. Pope’s northwest of Fayetteville, Seymour Johnson is in Goldsboro, and Cherry Point is down near Jacksonville. Norfolk NAS is actually the nearest airbase, even though it’s across the state line.

The Bishop’s Boys is a wonderful biography of Wilbur and Orville, very much worth reading. For the record, the first customer they went to was the Army, and the first recorded death in a successful airplane was Army Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge piloted by Orville when a propeller shattered. They took off from the parade ground at Ft. Myer, Va.

Also for the record, Lindbergh’s most recent biography, , by Scott Berg credits him as not only seeing much of aviation history, of course, but of being the first pilot to be saved by a parachute, and having been saved by a parachute twice.

A book I have contradicts Wiki in the post at #3 above.

In Fighter Heroes of WW1 states "In 1946, James Goodson, a colonel in the US Air Force persuaded the elderly Orville Wright to attend a military conference in New York. The two men flew together. Goodson remembers;

The hostess on the aeroplane saw this elderly gentleman and she approached him and asked "Are you enjoying the flight? " and Orville replied “Yeah, very much.” She said “Have you flown before?” He said "Yeah, I’ve flown before.’ She said ‘That’s great! Do you enjoy it?’ He said ‘I enjoyed the first flight and I’m enjoying this one too…’

There was quite a bit at the Conference where Orville distanced himself from comments made by Eddie Rickenbacker. Amongst other things he said "We had no idea that there’d be thousands of aircraft flying around the world. We had no idea that aircraft would be dropping bombs. We were a couple of kids with a bike shop who wanted to get this contraption up in the air. It was a hobby. We had no idea…’

What’s the book?


Sorry, the Book is “Fighter Heroes of WW1” by Joshua Levine.
I was thinking the story of the air hostess may be a bit far fetched but he then includes a bit of detail about the conference which would seem to suggest Orville did attend.