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"Re-living The Wright Way"

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Invention Process

Researched Flight

Tested Theories

Flight Control

Test Pilot Skills

Propulsion System

First Flight

Flight Development

Pushing Envelope

Wilbur Wright Bio

Orville Wright Bio

Lesson Plans






1900 - Aircraft

1901 - Aircraft

1902 - Aircraft

Powered Aircraft

1903 - Wright Flyer

1904 - Aircraft

1905 - Aircraft

Flight Control

Wing Warping

1901 - Wind Tunnel


During the nation's celebration of the Centennial of Flight, people are interested in the scientific principles and the details of the Wright brothers' aircraft and discoveries. To aid that understanding, people have produced simulations of the various aircraft and scientific principles. The simulations take two main forms; computer models and physical models or replicas. This web page describes and links you to the computer simulations and some aircraft replicas present at the Wright Way.

NASA Glenn Research Center has developed a number of web pages concerning the discovery process of the Wright Brothers. Many of these pages contain interactive educational computer simulations. An index of all the pages indicates the interactive simulations.

Here is an
example of an interactive
educational simulation found
at this web site. Simulations can be downloaded to your computer so that you can explore them off-line. Just click on a link below to view the appropriate page, or click "Download" to obtain your own copy of the simulation.

Let's investigate how the elevator works by using a Java simulator.

Several replicas of the Wright aircraft have also been produced. A full scale replica of the Wright's 1900 aircraft has been built in a joint effort between the Orono Middle School of Orono, Maine, and the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The aircraft has been used as a traveling exhibit, an educational tool, and eventually as a fixed exhibit at the Glenn Visitor Information Center. An interactive simulation has been developed to predict the flight conditions necessary to fly this aircraft. A higher fidelity Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) computation of the flow around the glider has also been completed. The CFD simulation includes an animation of the flow at different angles of attack.

The students are Orono also produced a half scale replica of the Wright's 1902 aircraft. That aircraft is currently housed at the NASA Glenn Visitor's Center and has been used in educational activities at the center. In 2003, the Orono students built a small scale replica of the Wright 1903 flyer which was taken to the International Space Station and used by the Expedition 7 crew during educational broadcasts.

A full scale replica of the Wright 1905 flyer has been built by Mark Dusenberry of Dennison, Ohio. This aircraft has been flown by Mr. Dusenberry nearly a dozen times through October, 2004.

FoilSim Software – Grades 9-12
This program is an interactive flow simulator that determines the airflow around various basic shapes of airfoils, including a flat plate. Several lessons on basic aerodynamics are included with this simulator package. The lessons are displayed in a separate window while the program is operating.
Highlights: Free Software.

Basic Aircraft Design (not currently available)

The BAD-Web gives some rudimentary insight into the art and science of aircraft design. While it purposely limits the scope of BAD-Web to ensure quick results, it should demonstrate the kind of tradeoffs and decisions that aircraft designers face on a daily basis.
Highlights: Design your own airplane.

Program Description URL Grade
Aeronautics Environmental Impact Traveling Exhibit The Aerobus traveling exhibit contains a theatre featuring videos related to NASA's efforts to reduce the impact of aeronautic propulsion on the environment K-16
Atmosphere Applet This software lets students and educators study how pressure, temperature, and density change throughout the atmosphere, by demonstrating how those variables effect the gauges of an airplane. 9-12
Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics Learn about how airplanes fly, including the forces that lift them off the ground, keep them in the air, and help them land. K-12
Beginners Guide to Propulsion This interactive website serves as a guide to how jet engines work. Activities, data, and engine simulations are available for teachers and students. K-16
Curveball Students learn about the principles of aerodynamics by controlling the conditions of a big league baseball pitch. 9-12
EngineSim Students can manipulate variables to design and test engines to see what is most efficient. This software fosters hands on inquiry-based learning in science and math by simulating jet engine tests and the effects that engines have on the speed and range of aircraft. 9-12
Foil Sim II This software fosters hands-on inquiry-based learning by computing the theoretical lift of a variety of airfoil shapes. The user can control the shapes, size, and inclination of a wing, and test their decisions in a simulated wind tunnel. 9-12
KAAMS The KAAMS teacher website supplies problem based learning opportunities that get students involved in authentic aeronautics-based remote-sensing missions conducted by NASA scientists. 6-9
Kite Modeler This program helps students design and study the flight of a kite. Kites with different lengths, widths, and materials can be designed and tested with variable wind speeds and control lines. The aerodynamic forces on the kite, and the stability of the design are computed by this software. 9-12
Learning Technologies Project This project helps integrate NASA research and technology into the K-14 curriculum through web-based resources, computer simulations, and videoconferences. Many ready-made lesson plans, activities, and experiments that deal with the science of aerodynamics are available. K-14
Mobile Aeronautics Education Laboratory (MAEL) The mobile state-of-the-art Aeronautics Education Laboratory brings new technologies to partnership cities to excite students about science and math. Visitors can experience 10 hands-on workstations that model real world aviation chK-16enges like weather forecasting, flight design, airfoil design, and flight controls. K-12
Observatorium The Observatorium is a public access website that explores how airplanes are used as platforms for experimentation and remote sensing. Pictures of the earth, stars, and planets are available. K-16
Range Games Range Games presents a variety of multiple-choice math and physics problems involving aircraft performance. Students must answer questions about range, fuel usage, acceleration, velocity and location during take-off. 9-12
Rocket Modeler The Rocket Modeler lets students and educators design and study the flight of a model rocket. This program computes the stability of your design and flight trajectory while K-16owing the user to vary the number and size of fins and materials used. 9-12
The Wright Way Learn about the development of the first manned, powered flight from its conception through research and experimentation, to success and beyond. This website features facts, lesson plans, simulations, activities, and contains information on how to participate in the Centennial of Flight Celebration. K-12
Virtual Skies This interactive website, designed to teach decision making and problem-solving skills, guides students through an exploration of the world of aeronautics. Learn the principles of flight, flight planning, see large wind tunnels in operation, consider career options, and more. 9-12
Wind Tunnel Teacher's Guide The major parts of a wind tunnel are described, and animation is used to demonstrate how they operate. This guide provides a classroom activity in which a teacher can design their own wind tunnel. 8-12
Wright Flyer Online Learn about a full-sized replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. Students can follow the trailing vortex as it is tested in a NASA wind tunnel. 9-12

Site Map and Links to Wright Brothers Information


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Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Thu, Jun 12 05:10:21 PM EDT 2014

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