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Wright Bros Flyer 4 / Type A-1 / Type A-2 / Military Flyer


Wright A


A canard biplane with one 30-to-40-horsepower Wright vertical four-cylinder engine driving two pusher propellers via sprocket-and-chain transmission system. No wheels; skids for landing gear. Natural Muslin fabric finish; no sealant or paint of any kind.

In 1908, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sought competitive bids for a two-seat observation aircraft. Winning designs had to meet a number specified performance standards. Flight trials with the Wrights' Type A-2 entry began at Fort Myer, Virginia, on September 3, 1908. After several days of successful flights, tragedy occurred on September 17, when Orville Wright crashed with Lt. Thomas O. Selfridge, the Army's observer, as his passenger. Orville survived with severe injuries, but Selfridge was killed, becoming the first fatality in a powered airplane.



Piloted by Orville Wright, it set an endurance record of 1h:02m on 9 September 1908. Rebuilt as 1909 Military Flyer with a 30hp Wright, wingspan: 36'6", length: 28'11", useful load: 460 lb, speed: 42 mph.On June 3, 1909, the Wrights returned to Fort Myer with a new airplane to complete the trials begun in 1908. Satisfying all requirements, the Army purchased the airplane for $30,000 on August 2nd, 1909 - $25,000 (plus a $5,000 bonus for exceeding 40mph).
It performed well (as Knabenshue-Wright) at the 1910 Dominguez Hills Air Meet.
Wright A AS1

As AS1/SC1 it was used for pilot training at College Park MD and San Antonio TX.


Wright A.


It was used in October 1909 for giving flight instructions to Lts. Frank P. Lahm and Frederic E. Humphreys at College Park, Maryland, and in 1910 it was used by Lt. Benjamin D. Foulois to teach himself how to fly at Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas. By March 1911 the airplane was no longer in use and was retired. It was given to the Smithsonian in 1911. It is now on exhibition at the NASM, Washington DC.

1909 Military Flyer


Seven were built, with one shipped to France. In France Wilbur Wright achieved approximately 133 flight in 26 hr 2 min flying time. The longest flight was 2 hr 20 min 23 sec / 77 miles.
The two place Transitional Model A of 1910 was 33 ft 9 in long and otherwise similar to the Flier, with variations in control surfaces and a rear-mounted, rudimentary stabilizer and elevator, the first such on Wright's machines.
Built at the Wright's flight school in Montgomery AL, one set a new altitude record of 6,000' on 17 June 1910, piloted by Walter Brookins. At least three were built, and several built under license in France and Germany.


Type A-1
Length: 29 ft (8.5 m)
Wing span: 41 ft (12 m)
Wing area: 510 sq.ft
Flying wt approx: 1000 lb
Engine One 30 hp Wright
Seats: 2

Type A-2
Length: 29 ft (8.5 m)
Wing span: 41 ft (12 m)
Wing area: 510 sq.ft
Flying wt approx: 1000 lb
Engine One 30 hp Wright
Seats: 2
Longest flight: 1 hr 14 min 20 sec / 50 miles
Total no of flights: 10
Total flying time: 5 hr 56 min


A / Flier / Military Flyer
Engine: Wright pusher, 39hp
Wingspan: 36'4"
Length: 28'0" (some early plans show 27'9" and 27'10")
Useful load: 460 lb
Speed: 44 mph
Seats: 2




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