Wind Tunnel

Rendering of Wind Tunnel

If you like to fly, you owe some thanks to Wilbur and Orville Wright, two hobbyists who became scientists and then achieved first flight. Believe it or not, the Wright brothers credited their success to the investigations that they did in their workshop in Dayton, Ohio, rather than all of their test glides.

In the Fall of 1901, the Wright Brothers decided to begin a "series of experiments to accurately determine the amount and direction of the pressure produced on curved surfaces when acted upon by winds at the various angles from zero to ninety degrees." To do this, they built a wind tunnel.

The original wind tunnel no longer exists, but a replica was built in the 1930s for display in The Franklin Institute's Aviation Hall. The replica was built carefully to match the original dimensions and materials. This model was created using the replica's exact dimensions and specifications.

"We had taken up aeronautics merely as a sport. We reluctantly entered upon the scientific side of it. But we soon found the work so fascinating that we were drawn into it deeper and deeper. Two testing-machines were built, which we believed would avoid the errors to which the measurements of others had been subject."