WrightExperience
 
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About the Wright Experience™

The Mission of the Discovery of Flight Foundation

The Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization that seeks to rediscover the Wright Brothers experimentation, discovery, and methodology; provide for the reconstruction of original Wright Brothers aircraft; and create a living classroom for people of all ages. The foundation has contracted with the Wright Experience™ to achieve this ambitious plan.

The Team

  • Ken W. Hyde, Founder (read more)
  • John Canedo
  • Greg Cone
  • Milt Cockrell
  • Thomas Dowell
  • Cliff Gutridge
  • Bill Hadden
  • Wendy Hyde
  • Cyndi Messick
  • Dave Meyer
  • Cheryl Morgan
  • Larry Parks
  • E. Scott Rawlings
  • Wes and Donna Smith
  • Steve Thal-Larsen
  • Debbie Thomas-Albrecht
  • Mark Trezza
 

Wright Experience™ Method and Objectives

A Legacy Lost: A little more than 100 years ago, Orville and Wilbur Wright set out to solve the problems of flight. Their methodical experimentation with kites and gliders evolved into one of mankind's greatest inventions — powered aircraft. Unfortunately, there is little documentation of the journey of invention and discovery that resulted in this incredible accomplishment.
    In 1899, when the Wright Brothers began their quest, the world was light years away from a practical solution to flight. Standing in the way was a morass of pseudoscientific theory. The Wrights successfully navigated this theory in a mere five years. They delivered to the world, not a peek into the future, but the future itself. Their innovation encompassed not only an airplane capable of flight, but also the fundamental theory upon which all of aerospace has developed.
    A compelling need to keep their hard-earned technical expertise hidden from the prying eyes of imitators forced the Wrights to work in secret. As a result, their early prototype developmental aircraft were destroyed, along with all the construction documentation and drawings. Today these aircraft exist only in grainy black and white photographs. The Wrights always intended to tell their story but never did.
    Working under contract with the Discovery of Flight Foundation, the Wright Experience is researching, reconstructing, testing, analyzing, and documenting authentic full-scale reproductions of the Wright Brothers' developmental aircraft and engines.

Restoring the Legacy: Imagine the painstaking attention to detail required to recreate the research, experimentation, documentation, drawings, components, and aircraft of the Wrights when very little original work remains to this day.
By using the process of "reverse engineering" the Foundation's team of experts examine original parts, artifacts, and photographs to remanufacture authentic flying aircraft.

Constructing the Legacy: The best way to rediscover how the Wrights accomplished this incredible achievement in so short a time is to experience for ourselves what the Wrights experienced. The Wrights were engineers of the highest caliber. Their designs were evolutionary. Each machine went through many modifications and tests before being superceded by the next design.
    In experiencing this process of invention in our own shops we are discovering and recording how the Wright Brothers worked, how they thought, and how they completed the design of a practical airplane in only five years.

Flight Testing and Analysis: Each of the prototype aircraft are carefully and thoroughly flight-tested. The best surviving historical documentation records flight performance and the problems the Wrights experienced.
    Flight-testing not only confirms design specifications, but also provides another dimension that allows a better understanding of the innovative problem-solving process of the Wright brothers.
    Flight and wind tunnel tests are analyzed to ensure the accuracy of the prototype aircraft. Final historically accurate reproduction aircraft are then produced as part of a permanent record.
    These aircraft and all research material form a documentary record that will be prepared and preserved for future generations.

Documentation and Artifacts: Many prototype developmental aircraft of the Wright Brothers were destroyed along with all construction documentation and drawings. What have survived are photographs taken by the Wrights to record their progress.
    Using high-resolution scanned images of these historic photographs, Wright Experience engineers have created a window into the secrets the Wrights protected so carefully.
    The surviving Wright Brothers' aircraft are mostly reconstructions. The Discovery of Flight team has examined these aircraft to determine what is original and what is not. Additional historical artifacts and photographs from throughout the world are being acquired and examined.



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