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Replica of Wright 1905 Aircraft

Photo of the 1905 replica in flight

The sites and sounds of Huffman Prairie in 1904-1905 are being recreated in Dover, Ohio, in the fall of 2004. Mark Dusenberry has built and flies a historically accurate, full scale replica of the Wright 1905 flyer.

In 2003, the world celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first flight of the Wright Brothers’ airplane. The four flights of December 17, 1903, were important milestones in man’s conquest of the air, but the 1903 flyer was only a chapter in a much longer story. All four flights of that day were characterized by an instability in pitch; the nose of the aircraft, and therefore the entire aircraft, bobbed up and down as it flew.

The brothers returned to Dayton, Ohio, and knew there was more work to be done to correct the problems of the 1903 flyer. They increased the power of the engine from 12 horsepower to 18 horsepower. They first modified the rudders and then the elevator of their machine. They decided to conduct further flight tests in Dayton instead of returning to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It took nearly two years and two new aircraft before the pitch problem was finally solved in 1905.

The brothers called the 1905 the “first practical airplane”.

Photo of the 1905 Wright aircraft
Photograph taken in 1905 of the aircraft in flight.
Photo of the 1905 Wright aircraft
Because of the lack of sustained winds in Dayton, the brothers launched their aircraft by using a catapult, as shown in this photo from 1905.

Over a span of seven years, Mark Dusenberry has been retracing the steps of the Wright brothers by building a historically accurate replica of the Wright 1905. We have prepared a gallery of photographs taken during one of Mark’s flights.

The four cylinder engine has an aluminum block and produces nearly 18 horsepower, just like the original Wright engine.

Photo of replica engine
Here is a picture of the engine that was built by Mark.
Photo of 1905 replica
The propellers were carved by hand and are shown in this view from the front of the aircraft.

Like the brothers, Mark uses a catapult to launch the aircraft. A large weight is pulled to the top of a tower and a line is run from the weight through some pulleys and connected to the front of the aircraft. When the restraining wire is released, the aircraft shoots down the launch rail and into the air.

Photo of launch tower

Photo of launch tower
Photograph of the launch.

Mark has flown his replica nearly a dozen times (as of October, 2004). On this AVI movie, the aircraft flies for about 20 seconds.

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