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Page: Start Model Airplane Collecting Featuring Kitty Hawk

Model Airplane Collecting,
Featuring the Wright Flyer "Kitty Hawk"

Start your airplane collecting with this aviation pioneer

On December 14, 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Wilbur Wright had just completed a failed attempt to fly the world’s first powered aircraft. The brothers initially tossed a coin to see who would be the first to attempt flight. Wilbur was able to leave the rail, but stalled and came down in about 3 seconds with only minor damage. A few repairs were needed.

The Wright Flyer Kitty Hawk

Three days later on December 17th, the Wright Brothers made history, flying four times, with each flight increasing in distance. Their last flight went 852 feet in 59 seconds. Each flight ended in a rough unintended landing, and Wilbur’s historic flight resulted in the front elevator supports breaking. They had hoped to repair the damage and continue for a four-mile flight to Kitty Hawk village, but the Flyer was later picked up by a heavy gust of wind and damaged beyond repair. The Flyer was never flown again.

This airplane model depicts the aviation pioneer airplane, flown by the Wright brothers
on their first flight on the December 17th, 1903, starting aviation history.

Today, The Wright Flyer can be found at the National Air and Space Museum in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. They describe the aircraft as “the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard.”

The Wright Flyer marks the beginning of the pioneer era of aviation.


Years prior to the first successful launch, the Wright brothers were testing gliders, and their last glider directly led to the design of the Flyer.

The Wrights used spruce for their construction material. At the time, existing automobile engines could not fit their needs, so they had to employ the help of Charlie Taylor to build one from scratch. Taylor built a 12-horsepower gasoline engine. The propellers were built by hand and borrowed bicycle chain technology, each rotating in opposite directions to increase handling.

Just as in the gliders, a pilot flew lying on his stomach on the lower left wing and steered by moving a cradle attached to his hips.

Model Collecting

It should be no surprise that model airplane collectors are also huge history buffs. Afterall, the historical context to each model is what gives them value.

Someone looking to step into the world of aviation model collecting should look no further than the Wright Flyer as their first model. What better way to start your journey than the aircraft that began the “pioneer era” of aviation?

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