bullet To build a powered 1903 Wright Flyer aircraft.
bullet To improve the stability and controllability of the craft while maintaining its external configuration by utilizing modern wind tunnel test data not previously available for the 1903 configuration.
bullet To fly the aircraft and record flight on video tape.
bullet To prepare technical papers on various aspects of the project and present them at Section meetings.
bullet Basic construction materials will be wood and fabric, like the original.
Modern stability and control knowledge will be utilized to improve stability and controllability of the machine, while preserving external appearance and dimensions:
  • Ballast will be used for proper location of C.G.
  • Lateral controls will connect to the control stick, the hip cradle being stationary.
  • Rudder controls by foot pedals, instead of linked to lateral controls.
  • bullet Project will be financed from insurance proceeds received by the Section for loss of the Flyer in the San Diego Museum fire.
    bullet Project history will be recorded in writing and video as activity proceeds as part of the educational function of the project.
    bullet A suitable modern engine will be used with higher power available than the original.

    The project will commemorate the genius of the Wrights by making available new technical details of aerodynamic and control effects, which have not received such professional scrutiny in the past. The 1903 Wright Flyer project will provide both fun and professional challenge to the members, some of whom may not otherwise be active in the L. A. Section. The project will provide a singular, tangible, working goal around which to build a more active Section membership.

    A wide variety of skills were needed for the Wright Flyer Project, ranging from analysis, design, construction and testing, to purchasing, historical, photography, record-keeping, facilities and business. AIAA retirees with a yen for building a vintage aircraft found this project particularly satisfying.

    Since it was - and still is - a "labor of love", the "requirements" for team members called for a commitment to be active i.e. devote some time each week: Design, aerodynamics, controls, propulsion, propellers, wood, fabric, rigging, testing, structures, weight, construction, carpentry, planning, administrative, historical, literature, publicity, photography, publications, business operations.

    The purpose of the Wright Flyer Project is to clarify and commemorate what the Wright Brothers did by generating a complete body of experimental data and analyses which describe the characteristics of the first successful piloted airplane. It is odd but true that little definitive aerodynamic data exists on the 1903 Wright Flyer configuration, other than the notes of the Wrights themselves. Prior to this project, no wind tunnel test data for the complete 1903 Flyer configuration were available to describe its flight characteristics in technical terms.

    The Wright Flyer Project consists of two phases: (a) the Data Acquisition Phase, which involves generating wind tunnel test data for the 1903 Wright Flyer configuration, first using wind tunnel models - one a 1/6 scale flexible model and the other a 1/8 scale steel model, then building a non-flying full-scale replica for testing in a full scale wind tunnel ; (a 1/8 scale radio controlled model has also been fabricated and flown) and (b) the Flight Phase, which involves building a flyable, full-scale replica of the airplane, recreating the flights of December 17, 1903 and recording them on video tape.

    The fans of the wind tunnel at NSAS Ames

    The fans which drive the 80' X 120' wind tunnel at NASA Ames Research Center where we will test our replica

    Copyright 1996-2001, AIAA Wright Flyer Project, all rights reserved.

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