While the Wrights were competing with a number of other would-be inventors of the airplane, the brothers were the first to come up with the eventual winning combination of innovations -- figuring out how to achieve lift and drag; how to deliver thrust to the machine; and most important, the use of three-axis control. Until that point, most people trying to get a powered aircraft to fly had only been thinking about up/down and left/right. But as bicycle makers, the Wrights knew there was another axis, and knew that rolling the plane was key to maintaining flight.
Although the Wrights are generally acknowledged as the inventors of the airplane, there is another inventor whose work has been gaining supporters, especially in Connecticut. That man, Gustave Whitehead, is said to have first flown an airplane in 1901.
July 9, 2013 4:00 AM PDT
Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET
| Caption by: Daniel Terdiman
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