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Special Collections & Archives

Replica of 1903 Flyer Construction

side view drawing of the 1903 Wright Flyer

Howard DuFour, 86, was the guiding force and chief engineer on the project. He directed the construction of the 1903 Wright Flyer Replica working from drawings made by the Smithsonian Institution of the original Wright Flyer housed in the National Air and Space Museum. Since the drawings were of the finished Flyer, there were no tolerances given for any dimensions of any part or assembly. Howard decided to set the accuracy of construction or tolerances to within .010± of an inch.

The replica is constructed of basswood rather than the spruce used on the original. Spruce is unavailable in the lengths required. Muslin again covers the wings and all metal parts were custom-made from drawings of the originals. The propellers were constructed and donated by Hartzell Propeller. The engine is a mock-up of the original and made by Howard's son, Larry DuFour.

The specifications of the 1903 Wright Flyer Replica match those of the original, with the exception of the overall weight of the machine. The replica weighs 550 lbs. due to the difference in the weight of the engine and its auxiliary parts.

front view drawing of the 1903 Wright Flyer

Specifications of the 1903 Wright Flyer

Span (Length of Wings): 40 ft. 4 in.
Chord (Width): 6 ft. 6 in.
Gap (Vertical Distance Between Wings): Approximately 6 ft. 2 in.
Camber (Curvature of the Wing): Approximately 1/20
Wing Area: 510 sq. ft.
Horizontal Rudder Area: 48 sq. ft.
Vertical Rudder Area: 21 sq. ft.
Length of Fuselage: 21 ft. 1 in.
Weight of Original: 605 lbs.
Weight of Replica: 550 lbs.