Other Projects

The Centennial of Powered Flight Exhibit

The Friends assisted the McDermott Library in funding an extensive exhibit on the history of the Wright brothers and the invention of the airplane.

It was developed from a collection of 150 photographs of the Wright brothers' experiments donated to the Library by Mr. Fred L. Black. During the 1930s Mr. Black was the Director of the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan. He worked extensively with Orville Wright during the move of the Wright family home and bicycle work shop from Dayton, Ohio and re-assembly in the "Greenwood Village" at the Ford Museum. Orville loaned Mr. Black a series of the original negatives of the only photographic record of both the glider flights and the first powered flights.

In 1970, Mr. Black donated a set of the photographs to the Academy. The exhibit includes a selection of the photographs annotated with excerpts from the Wright brothers' letters, diaries, and lectures.

The Friends provided partial funding to purchase a quarter-scale model of the 1903 Wright Flyer. The quarter scale model, on display with the exhibit, is a replica of the Wright Flyer that was the world's first power-driven, heavier-than-air machine in which man made free, controlled, and sustained flight. At the conclusion of the exhibit, the model will be permanently displayed within the McDermott Library in commemoration of the centennial of powered flight, 1903-2003.

1900 Wright Glider

The Wrights' 1900 glider, the brothers' first full-size aircraft, being flown as a kite at Kitty Hawk. The Wrights' methodical program of flight testing always began with kiting the gliders before attempting free glides.

1902 Wright Glider

The Wrights designed their new glider in 1902 using the aerodynamic data they had gathered in their wind tunnel. The low angle of attack and the near-vertical lines while kiting the machine indicate a much superior lift-to-drag ratio of this aircraft over that of the earlier gliders. Unlike the lift of the 1900 and 1901 gliders, the actual lift of the 1902 glider was in accordance with the Wrights' calculations.

1903 Wright Machine

The completed 1903 powered Flyer sitting outside its hangar at Kitty Hawk, ready for a trial.

17 December 1903

The moment of invention. Three days after Wilbur's abortive first trial on December 14, the Wright Flyer lifts of the launching rail at 10:35 AM on December 17,1903, with Orville as pilot and Wilbur trailing behind. John Daniels, a crew member at the nearby lifesaving station, snapped the shutter of Orville’s camera just as the airplane left the rail, resulting in one of the most famous photographs ever taken.

16 November 1904, Simms Station, Near Dayton.


Lt. Selfridge, Maj. Squirer, & Lt. Foulois at Ft. Myers, Virginia.



Wilbur & Orville Wright on the Front Porch of 7 Hawthorne Street, Dayton.