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Special Collections & Archives

Purchase Replica of 1903 Flyer Book

An exact, full-scale replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer was constructed over a two-year period and then installed in Wright State University's Paul Laurence Dunbar Library in September 2001. Now a book, A Dream Fulfilled, about the details involved, the engineering questions overcome, and the many volunteers and supporters behind the project is available. A print copy can be purchased for $7.50 plus tax by contacting Special Collections & Archives, or the book can be viewed online in CORE Scholar.

Full-color photographs by Dayton-area aviation photographer Dan Patterson are scattered among photos taken by the airplane's volunteers. Long-time Miami Valley resident, engineer, author, aviation enthusiast, and dreamer Howard DuFour spearheaded the project and spent over a decade bringing the idea to fruition. Construction began December 7, 1999, and a expert group of retired engineers, woodworkers, seamstresses, hobbyists, and more evolved into a streamlined team dedicated to perfecting every detail.

Since no original drawings existed for the plane, Mr. DuFour worked off of finished dimensions from the National Air and Space Museum which had measured its specifications from the actual 1903 Flyer displayed in its collection. This book describes how Mr. DuFour and his team matched the materials and methods as closely as possible, substituting only when absolutely necessary. For example, spruce used in the original plane is no longer easily available, so oak and bassword took its place. Many original items like flax cord and bicycle hubs from 1903 materialized from area basements and garages, seemingly saved just for this project.

To learn more about the exacting science behind creating the 1903 Wright Flyer replica, stop by the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library Circulation Desk. The $7.50 book makes a great gift for anyone interested in aviation, replica-building, and realizing long-held dreams. A print copy can be ordered by contacting Special Collections & Archives, or the book can be viewed online in CORE Scholar.

For additional information about the book, please contact Special Collections & Archives.