First Flight
"First Flight" Footnotes

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Digital Images

Optimizing Enjoyment

The Wright Brothers' Aeronautical Engineering Collection

Other Websites

Index of Files


"First Flight's" Digital Images

All objects (with one exception, noted below) pictured throughout "First Flight" are currently held in The Franklin Institute's protected collection of objects obtained from the Wright Brothers. The images, which were digitized specifically for this usage, are © The Franklin Institute. All rights are reserved. For inquiries regarding any of the digital images or objects in "First Flight," contact the webteam@www.fi.edu for assistance.

The digitization process, which began in the Summer of 1998, took several months. The original objects include photographs, drawings, and three-dimensional objects. Great care was taken with the objects as they were brought out of storage to be captured for this electronic presentation. Currently, only a very few of these objects are on display in the museum. This electronic resource provides the greatest public access to The Franklin Institute's Wright Collection.

Digital cameras and flatbed scanners were used to create the digital images. In some cases extra light was added by computer to enhance the legibility of the image.

The Franklin Institute acknowledges the assistance of Gary Bradshaw in obtaining the digital image of Orville Wright that appears in this resource.


Optimizing Enjoyment of "First Flight"

"Flights of Inspiration" is optimized for use on computer monitors with a display resolution setting of 800x600. At higher resolutions, the appearance will vary. At lower resolutions, some words will become hard to read as they move over onto the spiral ring background image. If possible, please try to set your resolution to 800x600 to enjoy most fully your exploration of the history of first flights.

Multimedia resources created for "First Flight" require the use of a QuickTime Player. If you do not have one, visit the QuickTime website. Specifically, some multimedia files require a recent version of the QuickTime player which supports the Sorenson codec compression. In those cases, however, alternate versions of the animation are available which can be played using any version of QuickTime. Likewise, QTVR files require a version of QuickTime which supports the VR function. However, other versions of the player should still allow you to see the images.

Some information is provided as a pdf file. You'll need a viewer to read the file. If you do not have one, visit the Adobe Acrobat website.


The Wright Brothers' Aeronautical Engineering Collection

Orville instructed that, upon his death, The Franklin Institute should receive his collection of airfoils and devices. The Franklin Institute was the first scientific organization to give the Wright brothers credit and ranking for achieving sustained powered flight. Today, The Franklin Institute Science Museum has the largest collection of artifacts from the Wright brothers' workshop. The objects presented electronically in "First Flight" are just a small subset of the collection. For the purposes of this electronic resource, only objects used between 1896 and 1904 are considered.

The following text about the collection appeared in the August, 1951 edition of the "Journal of The Franklin Institute."

"Dr. Orville Wright deeded to The Franklin Institute in his will and through the Executors of his Estate all of his and his brother's, Wilbur Wright's, original wind tunnel apparatus, model airfoils, test data and drawings of their early airplanes. The collection also includes airfoil models tested at McCook Field during 1910, 1920, and 1921 as well as some of Orville Wright's experimental aviation devices with which he worked during his lifetime. These include a shaper and cutters to prepare wax airfoil models, a special scale, smoke apparatus for wind tunnel use, a bank indicator, an incidence indicator, automatic control devices for wind tunnel and airplane control, an automatic landing device and a cypher machine.

Among the original drawings the collection includes those of the first successful airplane—the 1903 biplane, and the 1904, 1905, 1907, and 1910 biplanes. Engine drawings include the 1910 motor and prints of the 1903 motor.

In addition to the intrinsic and irreplaceable value of the many items in the collection there exists within them a record of the logical, step-by-step program of engineering research and development by which the Wright Brothers enabled themselves to achieve success in flying their first powered airplane. Therein lies a record of their systematic wind tunnel tests conducted to give them reliable lift, drag, and L/D values to enable them to engineer the design of the first successful airplane. Test results were collaborated by building and test-flying gliders to determine the scale effects from wind tunnel data to full scale wings. It is no little wonder that by such scientific methods two men, then known better for their printing, publishing, and bicycle activities, were first to conquer the art of flight with a heavier than air machine."


Other Websites

For more information about the Wright Brothers, visit the hotlist of other online resources.

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