Today in History: Wright Brothers’ First Flight

First flight, 120 feet in 12 seconds, 10:35 a.m.; Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
Today in History–December 17–the Library of Congress features the first flights of the Wright brothers, flown on this day in 1903. Orville piloted the first flight that lasted 12 seconds and 120 feet and Wilbur piloted the fourth and final flight, remaining airborne for 59 seconds and traveling 852 feet. Learn more by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access a plethora of Wright and other early flight resources.

The Inventive Wright Brothers primary source set (includes teacher’s guide)

Dream of Flight online exhibition

The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers

Wright brothers image set

More Wright brothers images

Wright Brothers (selected newspaper articles 1903-1905)

More historical newspaper coverage: Wright flight

Wright Brothers Collection Wright State University

S.Res.513 – A resolution recognizing December 17 as “Wright Brothers Day” and commemorating the 120th anniversary of the first powered flight 12/18/2023

Teaching with the Library of Congress blog posts

More Library blog posts & articles

With Wings as Eagles: From Fantasy to Flight (primary source sets documenting the history of flight)