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.
|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.|
A replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer, as true to the original as possible, now hangs in the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library atrium.
It was dedicated to the memory of Wilkinson "Wick" Wright before a crowd surpassing 500 on September 6, 2001.
University Librarian Victoria A. Montavon opened the dedication program featuring guest speakers Dr. Kim Goldenberg, 1903 Flyer volunteer Josephine Elliott Lucas, Flyer project chief Howard DuFour, and Marion Davis Wright. Volunteers honored at the dedication along with Howard DuFour were: Jim Arehart, Rubin Battino, Jerry Beech, Dawne Dewey, Lawrence DuFour, Don Groves, Fred Hess, Virginia Hess, Bruce Hinkle, Hans Holztrager, Constance King, Josephine Elliott Lucas, Jack Murphy, Jack Ohmart, Jay Phipps, Darrell Sevy, Gloria Sgro, Gary Stitzel, Peter Unit, and Don Yeager.
The project was financed by a $25,000 grant. DuFour is a retired supervisor emeritus of WSU's Instrument Machine Shop and author of Charles E. Taylor: The Wright Brothers Mechanician, published in 1995.
Two plaques designed by Virginia Hess, one honoring Wilkinson "Wick" Wright and the other honoring the volunteers, hang on pillars flanking the airplane. All may be viewed during the Dunbar Library's open hours.