A dream of the ages became reality 113 years ago today on a windswept beach at North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
There, the Wright brothers made the world’s first powered, heavier-than-air flight. With Orville and Wilbur alternating as pilot, the plane made four flights that day.
The first airplane flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. The longest distance covered that day was 852 feet in 59 seconds — an average speed of 31 miles an hour.
In only a few decades, the airplane became an important part of America’s economy and defense, as well as a form of transportation relied upon by an increasing number of people.
Now, aircraft manufacturers in the U.S. do just over $123 billion of business annually.