The Wright Brothers Were Wrong!
Susan Kelly Archer

The Wright brothers have long been recognized as American heroes for their contributions to the early development of aviation. When one views the brothers’ contributions after the success of their flyer, it might appear to some observers that historians overlooked certain idiosyncrasies in the Wrights’ behaviors. They effectively combined research by other aviators, such as Sir George Cayley’s research that introduced the four forces of flight, the airfoil, and the relationship between airfoil position and lift, and Otto Lilienthal’s work with gliders, with their understanding of mechanical movement and their mechanic Charles Taylor’s effective engine design to develop their flyer. The public record clearly records their flight on December 17, 1903 as the first sustained, manned, powered, controlled flight. As the creators of the flyer, they certainly had the legal right to patent their invention; the question one must answer is whether their subsequent patent lawsuits were appropriate.

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