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"Re-living The Wright Way"

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Invention Process

Researched Flight

Tested Theories

Flight Control

Test Pilot Skills

Propulsion System

First Flight

Flight Development

Pushing Envelope

Wilbur Wright Bio

Orville Wright Bio

Lesson Plans






1900 - Aircraft

1901 - Aircraft

1902 - Aircraft

Powered Aircraft

1903 - Wright Flyer

1904 - Aircraft

1905 - Aircraft

Flight Control

Wing Warping

1901 - Wind Tunnel

Wright Brothers' Invention Process

(1904 - 1907) - Flight Development

It is important to note that the four flights of 1903 were only a chapter in the story of flight. The longest flight lasted less than a minute and did not include any maneuvers.

Photo of 1905 flight
The brothers continued to perfect their machine with a series of aircraft built between 1903 and 1905. They moved their flight testing from Kitty Hawk to their home town of Dayton, Ohio and flew their new aircraft at Huffman's Field on the edge of town. With new, more powerful aircraft, they were able to stay aloft for up to a half hour, to fly figure eights, and to even take passengers up for a ride. The age of the airplane had arrived.

Today, NASA Aeronautics Programs continue to develop new ideas to improve aircraft performance and operation.

Legend of Related Programs:: W Website
L Lesson Plans/Materials
A Activity
V Webcasts/Video
S Simulation


Program Description Grade W L A V C S
Aeronautics Environmental Impact Traveling Exhibit The Aerobus traveling exhibit contains a theatre featuring videos related to NASA's efforts to reduce the impact of aeronautic propulsion on the environment K-16   x       x
Aeronautics Kidspage This website is designed to help children learn about aeronautics, with an emphasis on aircraft engines. Lesson plans on the history, dynamics, and propulsion of airplanes are provided. K- 6 x x x      
Aerospace Education Services Program (AESP) The AESP enhances awareness and understanding of scientific and technology advances growing out of NASA's mission of research, discovery, and exploration. NASA provides assistance and support in updating science, math, geography, and technology curricula by utilizing new and evolving instructional technologies and teaching strategies. K-16   x x      
Ask a Scientist Ask a NASA scientist about space, earth science, aeronautics, or anything else of interest. K-16 x          
Atmosphere Applet This software lets students and educators study how pressure, temperature, and density change throughout the atmosphere, by demonstrating how those variables effect the gauges of an airplane. 9-12 x       x x
Beginners Guide to Propulsion This interactive website serves as a guide to how jet engines work. Activities, data, and engine simulations are available for teachers and students. K-16 x   x     x
Careers in Aerospace Fact Sheet This fact sheet provides advice and direction for anyone interested in a career in engineering. K-16   x        
Central Operations of Resources for Education (CORE) CORE is the world-wide distribution center of NASA-produced, educational, multimedia materials. The public has access to over 200 videocassettes, slides, and CD-ROMs chronicling NASA's state-of-the-art research and technology. K-16 x x        
Consider a Career in Aerospace Poster The Consider a Career in Aerospace Poster encourages young women to pursue careers in math, science, engineering, and technology. It provides information and activities that relate past, present, and future careers in aerospace. K-12   x x      
Curveball Students learn about the principles of aerodynamics by controlling the conditions of a big league baseball pitch. 9-12 x       x x
Destination Tomorrow Destination Tomorrow is a news magazine format television program aimed at adult lifelong learners. This program reports on NASA aeronautical research projects that impact our daily lives, provides historical background on NASA's contributions to the century of flight, and promotes science literacy by illustrating scientific principles related to aerospace technology. K-16       x    
Earth-to-Orbit Engineering Design Challenge This program presents junior high school students with some of the same aeronautical and engineering design chK-16enges faced by NASA scientists today. Students work together to design, build, test, and redesign models that meet specific criteria to counteract common engineering difficulties. 6-9     x      
EngineSim Students can manipulate variables to design and test engines to see what is most efficient. This software fosters hands on inquiry-based learning in science and math by simulating jet engine tests and the effects that engines have on the speed and range of aircraft. 9-12         x x
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) The Experimental Aircraft Association offers a wide variety of opportunities for teacher and students interested in building or modeling their own airplanes. K-16 x   x      
Exploring Program The Exploring Program is a division of The Boy scouts of America, which provides students with career exploration opportunities focused on engineering, computer science, and aviation Ages 14-20     x      
Foil Sim II This software fosters hands-on inquiry-based learning by computing the theoretical lift of a variety of airfoil shapes. The user can control the shapes, size, and inclination of a wing, and test their decisions in a simulated wind tunnel. 9-12 x       x x
Good Plans Can Help You Reach Your Goals This webpage offers advice for high school and college students interested in careers in aerospace. 9-16 x x        
High Speed Civil Transport Download and assemble a model of the Supersonic HSCT airplane. Get current information on advanced aircraft, and aeronautics programs and developments. K-16 x   x      
Johnny's Airport Adventure This program takes children on a pretend trip to an airport and on an airplane. Johnny's Airport Adventure introduces K-4 students to aviation terminology and various engine types. K-4 x       x  
K-8 Aeronautics Internet Textbook Numerous lesson plans, demonstrations, activities and information on aerospace careers are available. Detailed information on the Wright Brother's Flight Process, including journal entries, are also featured. K- 8 x   x      
KAAMS The KAAMS teacher website supplies problem based learning opportunities that get students involved in authentic aeronautics-based remote-sensing missions conducted by NASA scientists. 6-9 x x x     x
Learning Technologies Project This project helps integrate NASA research and technology into the K-14 curriculum through web-based resources, computer simulations, and videoconferences. Many ready-made lesson plans, activities, and experiments that deal with the science of aerodynamics are available. K-14 x x x     x
Mobile Aeronautics Education Laboratory (MAEL) The mobile state-of-the-art Aeronautics Education Laboratory brings new technologies to partnership cities to excite students about science and math. Visitors can experience 10 hands-on workstations that model real world aviation chK-16enges like weather forecasting, flight design, airfoil design, and flight controls. K-12   x       x
NASA Connect NASA Connect is an award winning series of instructional television programs that are proven to capture the imagination of elementary and middle school students. This program establishes connections between NASA research and math, science, aeronautics, and technology content taught in the classroom. 5-8 x   x x    
NASA Education Workshops (NEW) NEW provide educators with an opportunity to observe state-of-the-art research and development while directly interacting with experts at a NASA Field Center. K-16 ed   x x      
NASA Explores This website features weekly educational activities and updates on cutting edge research and development for elementary, middle, and high school students. Each week two new articles on aeronautics technology with lesson plans and adapted activities are featured. K-12 x x x      
NASA Quest Meet the people of NASA and look over their shoulder as they make NASA goals a reality. This website brings NASA personel and scientists into the classroom via the internet. K-12 x          
NASA Quest Aero Design Team This resource K-16ows teachers and students to see NASA employees performing aeronautics design and research in wind tunnels and flight simulators. Hear from NASA engineers as they design safer, more efficient, quieter, and faster airplanes. K-16 x   x      
NASA Quest's Women of NASA The Women of NASA is intended for young women to pursue careers in math and science. The materials provide profiles of successful women, and the opportunity to participate in interactive events. K-16 x x x x    
Observatorium The Observatorium is a public access website that explores how airplanes are used as platforms for experimentation and remote sensing. Pictures of the earth, stars, and planets are available. K-16 x x       x
Office of Aerospace Technology Online Newsletter The OAT Newsletter showcases promising technologies, and highlights NASA advancements in research to improve air travel. K-16   x        
Range Games Range Games presents a variety of multiple-choice math and physics problems involving aircraft performance. Students must answer questions about range, fuel usage, acceleration, velocity and location during take-off. 9-12 x       x x
Rocket Modeler The Rocket Modeler lets students and educators design and study the flight of a model rocket. This program computes the stability of your design and flight trajectory while K-16owing the user to vary the number and size of fins and materials used. 9-12 x       x x
Spacelink This website contains a search tool to discover a wealth of NASA programs, research opportunities and educational materials. K-12 x          
Superstars of Modern Aeronautics Posters The Superstars of Modern Aeronautics Posters feature 12 key contributors to modern aviation, and are designed to be used by teachers to encourage students to consider the increased opportunities that education provides to prepare for future careers. K-12   x        
The NASA Science Files The Science Files are an educational television program designed to enhance and enrich the teaching of math and science in '3-5. This program deals with numerous topics related to aviation, aerospace, science, technology, and math. 3-5 x   x x    
The New Regime: The Beginning of Supersonic Flight The New Regime website and accompanying mini-literature unit introduces students to supersonic flight using interactive audio and graphics. 4-12 x x        
The Wright Brothers Posters This pair of posters includes "The Process of Invention" and "Innovation Through Flight". Both posters showcase the vital role that engineering has played in human progress. K-12 x   x      
The Wright Way Learn about the development of the first manned, powered flight from its conception through research and experimentation, to success and beyond. This website features facts, lesson plans, simulations, activities, and contains information on how to participate in the Centennial of Flight Celebration. K-12 x x x     x
Tools of The Trade Poster This poster features research aircraft, and contains hands-on activities for building and experimenting with basic wing/tail canard configurations K-12   x x      
Virtual Skies This interactive website, designed to teach decision making and problem-solving skills, guides students through an exploration of the world of aeronautics. Learn the principles of flight, flight planning, see large wind tunnels in operation, consider career options, and more. 9-12 x   x     x

Related Research Programs

Synthetic Vision System (SVS) Limited visibility is the single greatest contributing factor in most worldwide aircraft accidents. NASA is developing a new technology that would give pilots a clear look at the skies at all times, despite weather conditions or time of day. The Synthetic Vision System is a kind of virtual reality modeling program for airplane cockpits, in which the pilot gets a continuous computer-generated, real-time picture of what is ahead.
Advanced Weather Information (AWIN) Weather is responsible for two-third's of air traffic delays, at an average cost of $4 billion a year. The goal of the AWIN program is to provide improved weather information to pilots and air traffic controllers. Improved sensor technology will identify gaps in the current weather information system, and help locate areas of turbulence to assist in improving flight safety and efficiency.
Aviation Safety Program (AvSP) The Aviation Safety Program is developing affordable, advanced technologies to help make travel safer on both commercial and small aircraft. The program focuses on accident prevention, mitigation, and aviation system monitoring and modeling. The objectives of the AvSP are to reduce the number accidents, lessen the damage they cause when they do occur, and improve performance through better equipment and procedures.
The Icing Research Branch The NASA icing research branch utilizes a flying laboratory to study the development and effects of icing while in flight, and a unique refrigerated wind tunnel to create realistic icing conditions for modeling and research. NASA has three icing research goals: icing avoidance, icing tolerance for safer operation of flights, and to discover the atmospheric characteristics of ice. The icing research branch has played a substantial role in developing, testing, and utilizing methods to prevent ice build up on aircraft.
Civil Tiltrotor Project (CTR) The Civil Tiltrotor Project is developing aircraft that will drastically reduce runway congestion and airport capacity issues. Tiltrotor aircraft can take-off and land vertically, similar to a helicopter, where no runway is required. The future vision of this program is to allow for greater public access to flight by creating a series of small vertiports to siphon off short-haul commuter traffic and free-up runway space for larger aircraft.
Terminal Air Productivity (TAP) As today's large commercial airplanes approach and land on runways, their engines cause wake turbulence, which is potentially harmful to aircraft attempting to land behind them. To avoid the effects of wake turbulence airports demand mandatory spacing between flight landings to allow the turbulence to dissipate. The goal of the Terminal Air Productivity Program is to increase the capacity of U.S. airports by reducing the spacing requirements between aircraft approaching an airport, by studying how wake turbulence is formed, and how to avoid its harmful affects. Allowing for more frequent landings, and creating precision onboard navigation and communication systems will counteract the effects of wake turbulence and make air travel safer and more efficient.
Future Flight Central Future Flight Central is a fully interactive air control tower simulator. This world-class facility allows for research and practice in airport planning, technology evaluation, procedures development, and training. The simulator allows researchers and airport professionals to develop new techniques and test new ideas in a virtual airport control tower environment.
Human Automation Integration Research (HAIR) The Human Automation Integration Research Branch is studying ways to optimize interactions between automated systems and humans. The goal of the program is to capitalize on the skills and capabilities of experienced flight controllers and pilots, while minimizing human error.
Physiological and Psychological Stressors and Factors (PPSF) The PPSF program is working to identify and avoid hazardous states of alertness in airport personnel. NASA researches are studying physiological and psychological factors like fatigue, and circadian disruptions that effect alertness and performance. The goal of this program is to minimize the role that human-error plays in flight safety.
High Speed Research Program NASA is developing the passenger jet of the future. A next-generation supersonic jet that could fly 300 passengers more then 1500 mph (twice the speed of sound). This plane could cross the Atlantic or Pacific in less then half the time of today's commercial flights.
X-37 The X-37 is NASA's advanced flight test demonstrator. This reusable launch vehicle will be designed to operate in both orbital and reentry phases of flight. The X-37 will feature dozens of advanced airframes, avionics, and operational techniques.
Advanced Space Transportation System The Advanced Space Transportation Program is striving to achieve the full potential of space for all human endeavors through safe, affordable, and reliable transportation. NASA researchers are developing innovative technologies for low-cost space transportation systems that will be as reliable and safe as today's airlines. Research efforts and technological developments are aimed towards accelerating breakthroughs that will make it possible for ordinary people to live, work, and play in space.
Helios Prototype On August 13, 2001 the Helios prototype set a world-record by achieving sustained flight at more then 96,000 feet. The Helios is an unmanned solar powered aircraft, with a gigantic wingspan of 247 feet. The Helios prototype has two program goals; to reach an altitude of 100,000 feet with a small payload, and to achieve a sustained flight with a duration of at least 96 hours.
Tech Finder From satellite television technologies to sunglasses, NASA research and developments lead to many everyday commercial products. Tech Finder is the NASA commercialization portal. This website gives the general public information about NASA technologies ready to be licensed by small businesses.
Blended Wing-Body Aircraft NASA is developing a hybrid shaped aircraft resembling a flying wing, but incorporating the same features as conventional airliners. The efficient high-lift wings and wide airfoil-shaped body generate lift, and minimize drag, increasing fuel economy.
Air-breathing Rocket Propulsion NASA is using new propulsion technology to develop rockets that weigh much less at take-off then conventional rockets which are weighed down by large supplies of fuel and oxygen. Air-breathing rocket propulsion inhales oxygen during flight so that oxygen does not have to be stored on board. The air-breathing rocket is going to be completely reusable, and able to take off and land at airport runways because of the drastically reduced weight.
Magnetic Levitation The Mag-Lev uses a magnetic track to lift a vehicle, and then move it forward very quickly. This technology will be used to make rocket take-offs more efficient by giving them a running start.
Active Aeroelastic Wing Program (AAW) The Active Aeroelastic Wing Program is a high tech adaptation of the Wright Brothers rudimentary wing-warping approach to aircraft flight control. The aircraft roll is controlled by using a thinner more flexible wing which twists and warps.

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Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Thu, Jun 12 05:10:23 PM EDT 2014

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