Wright Flyer II-III catapult, 1904-5

Wright Flyer II-III catapult, 1904-5

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Credit: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Wright Flyer II-III catapult, 1904-5. Designed by US aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright, the Wright Flyer II and Wright Flyer III improved on the earlier Wright Flyer in which Orville had made the first successful flight in a heaver-than-air machine (17 December 1903). All three Wright Flyers carried a single pilot and were biplanes with an engine to power the propellers. The Wright Flyers II and III were flown over Huffman Prairie, Ohio, USA, in 1904 and 1905. The 5-metre-tall catapult launching tower (left) was first used in September 1904. A falling weight and block-and-tackle system was used to power the catapult and accelerate the aircraft.

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