Ask an Explainer


How did the Wright Brothers know what shape to use for their wings?


The Wright brothers developed the shape of their wings using many different models and testing them over and over, making small changes. They started their designs based on data reported by German aeronautical pioneer, Otto Lilienthal. The Wright brothers continued to test different shapes in a basic wind tunnel of their own design. Through their tests they discovered the best size and shape for the wings to maximize lift and minimize drag. The Wright brothers did so well in designing their wings that airplanes today have a very similar shape to that of the 1903 Wright Flyer. 

Submit a Question