The 1905 Wright Flyer III, built by Wilbur (1867-1912) and Orville (1871-1948) Wright, was the world's first airplane capable of sustained, maneuverable flight. Similar in design to their celebrated first airplane, this machine featured a stronger structure, a larger engine turning new "bent-end" propellers, and greater control-surface area for improved safety and maneuverability.
The Wrights made several modifications to this flyer and learned how to perform aerial maneuvers safely during a series of flights at Huffman Prairie during 1905. The plane was dismantled after these flights, but rebuilt and flown in 1908 at Kitty Hawk, and ultimately restored for display in 1950 for Carillon Historical Park.
The first powered flight by Orville Wright on December 17, 1903, lasted 12-seconds and covered 120 feet, marking the first time a human had successfully piloted a self-propelled machine that rose into the air on its own power and landed on ground as high as that from which it had taken off. The Wright Flyer had indeed flown, but basically in a straight line and only a few feet above the ground. To be truly practical, an airplane would have to be able to climb to an altitude that would clear trees and buildings, and it would need to be fully maneuverable. In addition, a practical airplane would have to be reasonably safe and easy to control.
The Wrights began work on Wright Flyer III on May 23, 1905. Like their two previous airplanes, Wright Flyer III was a biplane with a dual canard elevator, dual pusher propellers, and a dual vertical tail. The tail was taller, and the entire craft sat slightly higher off the ground, but it was much like Wright Flyer II, which was flown during 1904 and early 1905. In fact, the engine and almost all of the metal hardware from Wright Flyer II was reused in the all-new airframe. In the new plane, the brothers returned to their 1903 wing camber of 1/20 of the wing chord. As with the 1903 engine, the 1904-05 engine was designe...