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Half Scale Replica of Wright 1902 Aircraft

Image of students making a replica of the wright 1902 aircraft

The scientists and engineers of tomorrow are working to retrace the steps of the Wright Brothers. A half scale replica of the Wright’s 1902 aircraft is being built at the Orono Middle School of Orono, Maine. The aircraft is to be used as a traveling exhibit, an educational tool, and eventually as a fixed exhibit at the NASA Glenn Visitor Information Center.

Image of the Wright 1902 Aircraft
1902 photograph of the Wright Brothers aircraft in flight.

In 2003, the world celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first flight of the Wright Brothers’ airplane. In reality, the brothers had been flying and learning to fly for several years before. Between 1900 and 1902 the brothers visited Kitty Hawk with a succession of manned gliders which were often flown as kites to determine their aerodynamic characteristics. These efforts culminated in the 1902 aircraft which was the first aircraft in the world to have active control about all three axes.

The brothers completed hundreds of successful glides with this aircraft.

During the winter of 2002, the 6th grade science students at Orono Middle School, built small scale models of the Wright’s 1902 aircraft which can be flown. Led by their teacher, Richard Glueck, the students studied drawings of the original aircraft, developed scale plans, shaped the wing ribs, struts, and control surfaces, performed final construction and then test flew their models. A gallery of photos of this activity has been prepared.

Work began in the spring of 2002, on building a half scale replica of the 1902 with construction techniques similar to the 1900 replica.

Image of students connecting ribs to spars
Students connecting the ribs to the front spar.
Image of students attaching skin to ribs.
Students attaching the skin to the ribs.
Image of students making effort in building the replica
The skin is hand-sewn by the students in a real team effort.
Image of the replica aircraft
The aircraft is beginning to take shape.

And, finally, here are three photographs of the students at Orono who built this half scale replica:

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