Wilbur Wright

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Wilbur Wright was one of the Wright brothers. He and his brother Orville Wright successfully flew the first manned, motor-powered airplane.

Wilbur was born on April 16, 1867 in New Castle, Indiana. Neither of the brothers graduated high school. Wilbur never received his diploma because he failed to attend the commencement exercises. Orville didn't graduate because he took special classes instead of the prescribed curriculum. Together, in 1893, Orville and Wilbur Wright opened the "Wright Cycle Company", a shop in which they built, fixed and sold bicycles.

When the two brothers read a newspaper article detailing the death of pioneer glider Otto Lilienthal in 1896, the Wright brothers were inspired to create a flying machine. They built a 6-foot wind tunnel in their bicycle shop and performed experiments by which they were able to determine that the published tables of air pressures on curved surfaces was incorrect. They developed their own table, which became the first reliable table of air pressures, and designed an airplane that could fly.

On December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the Wright brothers made the first motor-powered flight. Orville piloted the plane, flying 120 feet in 12 seconds. However, Wilbur made the longest flight, soaring 852 feet in 49 seconds. Wilbur Wright died of typhoid fever on May 30, 1912 at the age of 45.