The Americans Wilbur and Orville Wright, known as the Wright brothers, were the first people to successfully build and fly an airplane. The owners of a bicycle shop in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio, Wilber and Orville were interested in mechanics from early ages. After attending high school, the brothers went into business together and, interested in aviation, began experimenting with gliders in their spare time. The brothers consulted national weather reports to figure out the best place to conduct flying experiments. They determined that the ideal location was Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. So in 1900 and 1901, on a narrow strip of sand called Kill Devil Hills, they tested their first gliders. Back in their bicycle shop in Ohio, they built a small wind tunnel in which they ran experiments using wing models to determine air pressure.
The Wright brothers use their research to design and build an airplane, which they tested in Kitty Hawk in 1903. On December 17 of that year, they made the world’s first flight in a power-driven, heavier-than-air machine. Orville piloted the craft a distance of 120 feet (36.5 meters) and stayed in the air 12 seconds. The brothers made a total of four flights that day, and Wilbur made the longest: 59 seconds of flight time that covered just more than 850 feet (259 meters). They received little media attention for their efforts, until 1908, when they signed a contract with the Department of War to build the first military airplane. A year later, they set up the American Wright Company to manufacture airplanes.