The replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer that graces the atrium of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library celebrates the accomplishments of the Wright Brothers, who first achieved controlled powered flight on December 17, 1903, above the sands of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Wright State University is named for Wilbur and Orville Wright, printers and bicycle makers from Dayton, Ohio, whose curiosity about flight led to the research and development that culminated in the building of the 1903 Flyer. The Wright 1903 Flyer Replica is dedicated to Wilkinson "Wick" Wright, great nephew of the Wright Brothers and generous friend and supporter of the Wright State University Libraries. It is also a tribute to the volunteers who donated their skills and time to create the Flyer and encourage the spirit of invention in each of us.
The full-scale replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer was conceived and built by a dedicated group of volunteer model makers, mechanics, engineers, woodworkers, and seamstresses under the leadership of Howard R. DuFour, model maker and retiree from the Wright State University instrument shop in the College of Engineering. Howard and seventeen dedicated volunteers spent two years and more than 4,000 hours to complete the 1903 Wright Flyer replica. It was lifted into place in the Dunbar Library atrium on September 4, 2001.
The book, A Dream Fulfilled, chronicles the building of the flyer and can be purchased for $7.50 plus tax by contacting Special Collections & Archives or viewed online in CORE Scholar.
Also available is a biography entitled Charles E. Taylor: The Wright Brothers Mechanician, 1997, written by Howard DuFour and Peter Unitt. Assisted by WSU retirees Rubin Battino and Jim Arehart, DuFour conducted extensive research into how the Wrights and their mechanic, Charles Taylor, built the engine that powered their 1903 Flyer. The biography is available for purchase through the Wright State University Libraries’ store.