The Wright Flyers 1899–1916: The kites, gliders, and aircraft that launched the “Air Age” (X-Planes) (Paperback)

The Wright Flyers 1899–1916: The kites, gliders, and aircraft that launched the “Air Age” (X-Planes) Cover Image
By Richard P. Hallion, Adam Tooby (Illustrator)
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An authoritative new history and analysis of the Wright Brothers' pioneering aircraft, from their triumph in 1903, through their string of achievements in the next decade, to their eclipse in the 1910s.

Orville and Wilbur Wright, two bicycle-making brothers from Dayton, Ohio, secured their place as the most famous names in aviation history when, on December 17, 1903, they made the first powered, controlled, and sustained heavier-than-air flight. But their success over the cold and windswept Carolina dunes that day has overshadowed their many other accomplishments before and after that historic flight. The Wrights' progression from theory to analysis to ground-testing components and wing shapes, and to then flight-testing kites, gliders, and their first powered aeroplane, marked the world's first successful “X-Plane” research and development program. They established a template all subsequent aircraft have followed, one still relevant in the era of hypersonic flight and drone research.

This book traces the Wright Brothers' story, from their first success on that cold December day throughout their glory years to their eventual eclipse by other aviators. It explores in detail the process that lead them to their pioneering craft and their many subsequent achievements over the following years, and highlights their enduring importance in the age of modern flight.

About the Author

Richard P. Hallion holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Maryland, and has completed specialized governmental and national security programs at the Federal Executive Institute, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has been a Curator at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum; a Historian with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. Air Force; the Harold Keith Johnson Chair of Military History at the Army War College; the Charles Lindbergh Professor at the National Air and Space Museum; a Senior Issues and Policy Analyst for the Secretary of the Air Force; The Air Force Historian; a Senior Advisor for Air and Space Issues for the Air Force's Directorate for Security, Counterintelligence, and Special Programs; a Special Advisor for Aerospace Technology for the Air Force Chief Scientist; a Senior Advisor to the Science and Technology Policy Institute of the Institute for Defense Analyses; a Research Associate in Aeronautics for the National Air and Space Museum; and a Trustee of Florida Polytechnic University. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Royal Aeronautical Society, and the Royal Historical Society, and an Honorary Member of the Order of Daedalians who has flown as a mission observer in a wide range of military aircraft. He lives in Shalimar, Florida.

Adam Tooby is an internationally renowned digital artist and illustrator. His work can be found in publications worldwide and as box art for model aircraft kits. He also runs a successful illustration studio and aviation prints business. He is based in Cheshire, UK. To buy artwork, or contact the artist, visit

Praise For…

"In his conclusion, the author notes that the legacy of the ingenious brothers lives on with every flight. This concise history is a shining addition to Hallion’s impressive body of work." - Aviation History

Product Details
ISBN: 9781472837776
ISBN-10: 1472837770
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publication Date: December 24th, 2019
Pages: 80
Series: X-Planes