The Wright Brothers Orville Wright,(1871 - 1948), along with his brother Wilbur (1867-1912), invented the first successful controllable airplane. By 1903, they constructed a powered airplane with wings 40.5 feet long and weighing 700 pounds. On December 17, 1903 near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, they made the world's first flight in a powered, heavier-than-air machine. Orville flew 120 feet in 12 seconds. By 1908 they closed a contract with the Department of War for the first military airplane. Wilbur died in 1912, so Orville worked on alone and in 1913 won the Collier Trophy for a device to automatically balance airplanes. In 1929, he received the first Daniel Guggenheim Medal for the advancement of aeronautics, and was elected to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans in 1965. The original plane is now in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. Basic principles of that plane are used in every airplane. Here are original signatures by both Aviation pioneers.