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What are the similarities between the first airplane and modern day airplanes?
We've kept a lot of the original design of the first airplane, the 1903 Wright Flyer.
The wings, for example: today's airfoil is almost a perfect match to that of the 1903 Wright Flyer. We also use engines for propulsion, sometimes propellers for thrust (though we have more more efficient engines today), and steer with an elevator (for pitch) and rudder (yaw).