Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge

is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.

–William Shakespeare

Orville and Wilbur Wright were brothers who, despite not having attended college, possessed extraordinary technical ability. They had a sophisticated approach to solving problems in mechanical design and created their own glider by 1900. This aircraft performed poorly but their 1901 improvement was more successful. They would test each model in a wind tunnel where they performed countless successful flights and within the next few years, were able to develop a self-propelled heavy aircraft. They kept a low profile so that they could secure the patents and contracts needed for their planes and by 1903, they performed their first official flight. The biplane stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight. By 1905, they could perform complex maneuvers, remain aloft for over 39 minutes. 1908 marked their first commercial flight to France.