First Flight with the Wright Brothers

Yesterday was National Aviation Day, a holiday established by president Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939 to celebrate developments in aviation. The date selected was the birth date of aviation pioneer Orville Wright, who, along with his older brother Wilbur, is credited with inventing and building the world's first practical fixed-wing aircraft and making the first controlled, powered and sustained flight more than a hundred years ago. The Wright brothers documented much of their early progress in photographs made on glass negatives. Today, the Library of Congress holds many of these historic images, some of which are presented below.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP / Getty

    Carnival 2017 Around the World

    Carnival season is under way across Europe and the Americas.

  • Matt Eich

    Americans at Work: A Husband Captures His Wife's World

    This week, our “Americans at Work photo essay features photographs of Melissa Eich, a speech pathologist in Charlottesville, Virginia, taken by her husband Matt Eich.

  • Safin Hamed / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 2/18–2/24

    Flooding in California, unrest at town hall meetings across the U.S., the Naked Man Festival in Japan, continued fighting in Iraq and Syria, the end of a long-term protest in North Dakota, horse racing on a frozen Swiss lake, and much more.

  • Guillermo Arias / AFP / Getty

    10 Days Along the Border

    Earlier this month, Agence France-Presse photographers Jim Watson and Guillermo Arias traveled the length of the U.S.–Mexico border.

Join the Discussion