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Wilbur Wright (1867-1912), American pioneer aviator. Wilbur and his brother Orville ran a small bicycle factory in Dayton, Ohio. They became interested in flight in the 1890s, avidly reading papers by Lilienthal and Langley. After Lilienthal's death in 1896, the Wrights decided to begin their own experiments. They used basic wind tunnels to study aerofoil shapes, and designed 'wing warping' as a means of control, emulating the way birds control their flight. They even had to design and build their own lightweight engine. On 17 December 1903 their aircraft made its first flight, with Orville at the controls, and opened the era of aviation.
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