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Orville Wright: The Art and Science of Aviation, 1914


1901 saw the first somewhat disappointing trip from Ohio to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to test the first Wright glider in high wind conditions. While bad weather and shortage of materials dogged the task, the brothers were able to collect enough information to take back to Dayton for examination and further inspiration. They began to doubt the accuracy of Lilienthal's data and his calculated coefficients of lift and drag; the gliders they had built fell far short of the predicted performance.

On returning home, the brothers set out to painstakingly create their own data. From bicycle shop materials, the Wrights built a wind tunnel to measure the aerodynamic results of various scale—accurate miniature wing shapes they fabricated. A pine box with a fan attached at the end was the tunnel and the measuring balances and airfoil shapes in the tunnel were made from spoke wire and hacksaw blades. A completely controllable glider, designed and built from the new data and relying on wind for its movement, was successful at Kitty Hawk in the summer of 1902.