The Wright brothers’ first production aircraft helped to start the era of air racing 100 years ago. A replica – more accurately, a look-alike – of a Wright B Flyer is scheduled to make its North American public flying debut during EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, to be held this year from July 27 to August 2.
The “Silver Bird” look-alike was built by Dayton, Ohio-based Wright “B” Flyer Inc., which already owns two other such look-alikes. The group built this one to be a flyable aircraft that would promote Dayton’s aviation heritage, as the home town of the Wrights.
“To see an early model Wright Flyer take to the sky above Oshkosh this summer is a very exciting and historic opportunity for AirVenture participants,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA president and AirVenture chairman. “The volunteer effort involved in creating the airplane is also something that speaks well to EAA members and their own spirit of flight. We are very much looking forward to this aircraft joining us at EAA AirVenture, where you can see something you have not seen before.”
The Wright “B” Flyer group launched the project in 2007, with the intent of creating a replica aircraft that could be shipped internationally for exhibition flights. They used steel frames, wooden wing ribs, fabric covering and modern technology that introduced engineering software, laser cutting and machining tools. The finished airplane is stressed for 3.8 positive Gs while maintaining the appearance of the Wrights’ design.
The aircraft is scheduled to begin flight testing early this year and to take part in aviation festivities this summer in Europe, before coming to Oshkosh. A possible event in Reims, France, would commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gordon Bennett Cup, often regarded as the first major air race in history.
“It will truly be a global ambassador for Dayton,” said Amanda Wright Lane, the Wright brothers’ grandniece and a trustee of Wright “B” Flyer Inc. “There is not a single artifact you can hold, or place you can visit, or document you can read that equals seeing a Wright Flyer in the air.”