Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight near Kitty Hawk, on the outer banks. Wilbur flew the last of four flights of that day, covering 852 feet in 59 seconds.
The Wright brothers, who grew up in Dayton, Ohio, pursued their interest in flight while running various businesses including a bicycle shop.
They chose Kitty Hawk on North Carolina's outer banks because it offered steady winds and sand dunes from which to glide and land softly.
The historic 1903 aircraft is now on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
The birth of modern aviation, on this date in history, December 17, 1903.