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The patents of the Wright brothers are not about airplanes! They invented nothing.



New Recruit

Oct 16, 2013
The Wright brothers’ patents and their low importance for aviation
- 5 patents and all about gliders. No drawing of an airplane with engine and propellers appears in the patents of the two inventors.
- No picture or technical drawing of a Wright powered machine was published before August 8, 1908.
- The Wrights were just two frauds with good technical and business skills who only built and flew planes in 1908, like many others, and claimed they had already flown in 1903, 1904 and 1905.

The Wright brothers were two American inventors who claimed they built and piloted powered heavier-than-air flying machines in 1903, 1904, 1905 and May 1908 and really flew planes in front of numerous witnesses, including personalities of the aeronautic world, starting with August 8, 1908, when Wilbur, the elder of them, was seen up in the air above the Hunaudières racecourse near Le Mans, France. The article “Le premier vol, en France, du premier homme oiseau” by François Peyrey (L’Auto, Paris, August 9, 1908, col. 1-2, p. 5) gives a detailed record of the flight performed the previous day and also mentions the names of a few eyewitnesses: Ernest Zens, who timed the flight at 1 minute and 45 seconds, Paul Zens, Ernest Archdeacon, Louis Blériot, René and Pierre Gasnier, Captain Léonide Sazerac de Forge, Count Henri de Moy, all members of the French Aéro-Club.

No technical drawing, detailed description or clear picture showing a Wright plane, on the ground or in the air, were made available to the general public before August 8, 1908, so none of the powered apparatuses constructed and flown before the above mentioned date, according to what the two inventors pretended, could have been a source of inspiration for other aviation pioneers because nobody knew exactly what those machines looked like. The French newspapers started to show pictures of Wilbur’s biplane on August 12, 1908.

The first planes were officially witnessed taking off, under their own power, in France on September 13, 1906, and October 7, 1906, piloted by Santos Dumont and Traian Vuia, respectively. The aviation evolved rapidly and on January 13, 1908, Henri Farman already flew one kilometer in a circuit. Orville Wright even witnessed Farman flying on November 18, 1907, as can be seen from the article “Mr. Orville Wright Sees Mr. Henry Farman Compete for Deutsch-Archdeacon Prize” (New York Herald, Paris, November 19, 1907).

Pictures claimed by Orville Wright as made between December 17, 1903, and October 5, 1905, and showing three different planes (the 1903, 1904 and 1905 models) first appeared in print quite late, in “The Wright Brothers’ Aeroplane” by Orville and Wilbur Wright (The Century Magazine, New York, September 1908, Vol. LXXVI, No. 5, pp. 641-650).

The only thing the two brothers from Dayton, Ohio, showed, before August 8, 1908, was a series of kites and gliders. These unpowered machines are the only ones that could have inspired the inventors who built planes and performed witnessed flights, beyond any doubt, from September 13, 1906 to August 8, 1908.

The two brothers also filed 5 patents between March 23, 1903, and July 15, 1908, but their importance for aviation is close to zero as long as these documents present just gliders and their main objective is how to stabilize by hand, or using complicated mechanisms, extremely unstable unpowered apparatuses in pitch and roll. In fact, it was already known that heavier-than-air flying machine could be made naturally stable and the ailerons the two brothers claimed as their invention were in reality patented in 1868.

Download link for "The Wright brothers’ patents and their low importance for aviation"

The book contains the patents of the Wright brothers in full.

Question: What exactly does each of the Wrights’ patents claim as invented?

- The US patent no. 821,393, granted on May 22, 1906, and its foreign versions, claim: (1) the method of wing warping, in particular, and the ailerons (already invented in 1868 by M. P. W. Boulton), in general, for stabilizing an aeroplane type machine in roll, (2) a movable vertical tail aimed at counteracting the adverse yaw generated by twisting the main wings, (3) a flexible front elevator for maintaining the pitch stability of the same machine, (4) various constructive details.
- The French patent no. 384.124, published on March 30, 1908, and its foreign versions, claim two more vertical rudders, placed in front of the main wings, one fixed and the other mobile. They were aimed at better counteracting the adverse yaw.
- The French patent no. 384.125, published on March 30, 1908, and its foreign versions, claim two additional vertical rudders, placed close to the tips of the main wings. Their purpose was also for eliminating the adverse yaw.
- The US Patent no. 1,075,533, granted on October 14, 1913, and its foreign versions, claim automatic stabilization mechanisms: in roll, driven by a pendulum, and in pitch, governed by wind vanes (two models are proposed). None of these stabilization devices can work because the so called principles of physics they rely on are just misconceptions.
- The US patent no. 908,929 - “Mechanism for Flexing the Rudder of a Flying Machine or the Like”, granted on January 5, 1909, and its foreign versions, claim systems aimed at flexing the rudders of an aeroplane type machine for the purpose of modifying their lift.


Aug 12, 2018
Were the Wright brothers really first? Not in Brazil
In the U.S., the Wright brothers are recognized for making history with the world's first airplane flight. In Brazil, the first aviator goes by the name of Santos-Dumont.

Charles Cooper

July 9, 2013 2:18 PM PDT

Everyone knows that the American Wright brothers made aviation history when they lifted off at Kitty Hawk, N.C. on Dec. 17, 1903. But judging their place in that history is less clear when it's retold in Brazil -- especially when the subject involves the story of the country's storied local aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont.

Alberto Santos-Dumont MY AIRSHIPS The Story of My Life BY Alberto Santos-Dumont (Project Gutenberg)
As my colleague, Daniel Terdiman, notes in his detailed write-upof his visit to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio, "at the time of the Wrights' invention, there was a hot race to get the first powered aircraft aloft."

The Brazilians challenge the assertion that the Wrights were first to make aviation history with a true airplane since they used a launching rail. By contrast, Santos-Dumont won a competition in France on Oct. 23, 1906, when his winged aircraft flew about 200 feet and then landed safely to win the Aero-Club de France prize of 1,500 francs.

In a piece written for Brazil's Ministry of Science and Technology celebrating the 100th anniversary of Santos-Dumont's flight, physicist Henrique Lins de Barros argued that the inventor's 14-Bis, as the craft was called, satisfied all the criteria of the Federation Aéronautique International (FAI) as the world's first airplane. They stipulated the following:

A) the flight should be done before an official organization, qualified to ratify it; B) the flight should be done in calm weather and over a plain ground, and properly documented; C) the machine should be able to take off from a designated area by its own means with a man on board; D) the machine should carry on board the necessary source of energy; E) the machine should fly in a straight line; F) the machine should make a change of direction (turn and circle); G) the machine should return to the starting point.

The 14-Bis arrives in Bagatelle on Nov. 12, 1906. 'Santos-Dumont and the Invention of the Airplane' CBFP
Brazilian critics of the Wrights point to the use of the catapult they deployed instead of equipping their craft with a wheeled undercarriage. However, it's also true that the Wrights recorded making dozens of flights before building the catapult to launch their plane. And as Daniel notes in his piece, the Wright's Oct. 5, 1905, test of the Wright Flyer III remained airborne for 39 minutes, longer in duration than all flights to that point combined.

But even at a remove of more than a century, the Wright vs. Santos-Dumont debate continues into modern times. Removed from the polemics, PBS produced a thorough an fair-minded documentary on Santos-Dumont's life that's worth perusing. In the meantime, though, the true identity of the airplane's creator is fated to leave Brazilians and Americans as divided as ever.




New Recruit

Oct 16, 2013
Traian Vuia flew on March 18, 1906, before the moment Santos Dumont started to build his plane. However, on September 13, 1906, Santos Dumont convoked a commission from the French AirClub and performed a short flight in front of it in order to be declared the first officially witnessed man who flew an airplane. The same commission reunited on October 7, 1906 and witnessed Traian Vuia flying a similar distance with his single tractor monoplane.

The first two witness flights in the world:

- Santos Dumont – September 13, 1906, 8:40 AM; Bagatelle, France: 4-7 meters at a height of 50-70 cm and a speed of 30-35 km/h. (Aérophile, “Les grandes journées de l’aviation. L’essor de Santos-Dumont. Pour la première fois, un aéroplane à moteur monté prend son vol librement.”, L’Auto, Paris, September 14, 1906, col. 5-6, p. 1)

- Traian Vuia – October 7, 1906; Issy-les-Moulineaux, France: 4 meters in 2/5 sec at a height of 15 cm. (Aérophile, “Une belle expérience d’aviation. Hier matin à Issy-les-Moulineaux, l’Aéroplane automobile de M. Vuia a réussi à s’enlever par les seuls moyens du bord en expériences publiques et contrôlées.”, L’Auto, Paris, October 8, 1906, col. 3-4, p. 5)

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