How Two Bike Mechanics Used Creativity to Beat the US Government

It would seem against all odds that two bicycle mechanics could beat the heavily funded government projects to develop flight at the turn of the 19th Century.

However, it was exactly their bicycling experience that gave the Wright Brothers the creative edge over all the other efforts.

The Wright Brothers did not invent the airplane — many planes were flying before their first takeoff at Kitty Hawk.  The problem was that those airplanes were flying up into the blue sky, and then smack down into the ground.

The Wright brothers are famous because they used creativity to invent the controls that kept airplanes in the sky and allowed pilots to climb, descend, bank, turn, swoop and keep the planes on course.

Wright Brothers

They used a fundamental technique of great creative minds, they borrowed their ideas (Picasso on Creativity, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”).  In this case they borrowed from bicycling and from birds.

Go for a bike ride and you will feel what the Wright brothers felt every day as they tested bikes in their shop — you shift your weight right and left to keep your bike upright and on course.


This was the basis for their plane’s movable carriage in which the Wright brothers laid down like in a small bed, and shifted right and left to pull wires that were connected to the wings.

Now, go out in a field, sit down and watch birds and you will feel how the Wright brothers used their power of observation (The Creative Power of Observation) for months to see how birds twisted their wings to keep their flights on course.

Bird Flying

Here is where they got the idea to use their shifting carriage to twist the wings on their airplane to keep it on a straight course.

They also observed that birds used their tails to guide their flight up and down, and that was the basis for the rudder control that is still used on the tail’s of airplanes today when you pivot skyward or toward the ground.

The next time that you fly, remember the controls that the Wright Brothers created will guide your plane safely through the sky.

Boeing 747 Jet Aircraft

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