The first powered aircraft designed and built by the Wright brothers was the 'Wright Flyer' (often referred to as 'Flyer I' and on occasion, 'Kitty Hawk').
The Wright Flyer is considered by many to be the first successful powered, piloted aircraft. It was based on the Wrights' experience testing gliders at Kitty Hawk, between 1900 and 1902. The 1902 Glider, their last glider, led to the design of The Flyer.
The aircraft was built in 1903, and was a canard biplane configuration. The Wrights commissioned their employee, Charlie Taylor, to build a new engine from scratch, as they could not find a suitable automobile engine for the task.
The plane was steered by the pilot moving a cradle attached to his hips. The cradle pulled wires which warped the wings and turned the rudder.
The plane was first tested December 14, 1903, by Wilbur Wright, after the brothers had tossed a coin to see who would test it first. But things went a little wrong when Wilbur pulled up too sharply, stalled and brought the Flyer back down with minor damage.
The repairs for the first flight took three days, and on December 17, three days later, the Flyer was ready to be tested again. This time it was Orville Wright who took control, and his first flight lasted 12 seconds for a total distance of 120 feet.
The Wrights took it in turns and made four brief, low-altitude flights on that same day. The last flight, by Wilbur, lasted 59 seconds and covered 853 feet. Unfortunately, after this flight, the Flyer was picked up by a heavy gust and tumbled end over end, resulting in it being damaged beyond any hope of quick repair.
The Flyer was prepared for display by Orville in 1916 (Wilbur had died in 1912), at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Parts of the covering, the props, the engine's crankcase, crankshaft and flywheel had been replaced.