How many Wright aircraft still exist?

I’m just curious. I’ve spent a fair amnount of time looking over the internets. About how many Wright Brothers aircraft still exist today? I mean originals, not copies.

I’m sure there are some aircraft that have a few original parts that the owners or museums claim as original Wright aircraft.

Any web sites that keep track of the originals?


Dave P, Loveland OH


Since you’re spent some time doing this, any chance you can post what you know so far?

Here is an interesting site if you are interested in the Wright Bros. and what is left of their aircraft.

I know the original 1903 Kitty Hawk Wright Flyer is in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. Been there done that took that picture. Haven’t a clue where the rest might be.

(Trivia Minute: A piece of fabric and wood from this aircraft was taken to the Moon aboard Apollo 11.)

They built a replica for the 2003 Kitty Hawk centennial but couldn’t get it in the air on the big day, due to high winds and rain, IIRC. Flying one is just as much an art as a science. They’re very, very difficult to control, I’ve read.

It’s worth noting that the Wrights had high winds (around 25 mph) for their flights of Dec. 17 1903.

I’ve spoken to Kevin Kochersberger (the pilot of the replica) and he would agree. There’s little doubt that the Wrights’ considerable practice with their 1902 glider was important to their success in 1903 (as indeed they believed it would be).

Here’s the NYT’s coverage of the failed centennial flight at Kitty Hawk:

Also perhaps of interest:

Besides the one at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum*, there’s an original Wright aircraft 9of slightly later vintage) at the Franklin Institute on Philadelphia

*The Wright plane used to be on display in London, because Langley, who was director of the Smithsonian, insisted on putting his Aerodrome on display with a card declaring it the “first heavier than air craft that flew”, despite the fact that it hadn’t. Curtiss eventually rebuilt Langley’s craft so that it would fly, but that was long after 1903, and it required significant changes to the original. You can’t blame the Wrights for being pissed.

It wasn’t Langley (who died in 1906) but his successors at the Smithsonian, principally Albert Zahm (something of a weasel). It was he who suggested the Langley “Aerodrome” be repaired and modified. Glenn Curtiss was interested in the project because he believed a successful demonstration would weaken the Wright patent claim.

The Aerodrome was repaired with substantial modifications, and flown several times in 1914 and 1915, apparently only in short, low-altitude, straight-line flights. Zahm wrote a glowing account for the Smithsonian Annual Report, hailing “Langley’s success as a pioneer in aviation.” It was then restored back close to its 1903 condition, and in 1918 placed on display as “The first man-carrying aeroplane in the history of the world capable of sustained free flight.”

There’s also an original Model B at the USAF Museum in Dayton.

The folks at the Wright Brother National Memorial in Kitty Hawk: (252) 441-7430, might be able to help you.