Airplanes Seeking Good Home
A ONE-OF-A-KIND COLLECTION OF SCRATCH-BUILT WRIGHT
Some lucky community could get a new tourist attraction—and a lesson in early aviation.
While most of the airplanes Hyde has built belong to museums around the country, seven of them still reside in his shop in Warrenton, Virginia. He’s hoping to find a museum to buy the airplanes and a second original engine (serial number 59), built in 1911 by Wright mechanic Charles Taylor himself.
“We’ve only done the first part of this—re-creating the airplanes,” Hyde says. “It needs to go to the next phase, which is to keep the collection intact and housed some place where the public could enjoy it.”
Hyde believes young people can get excited about aviation by learning the Wrights’ story—two brothers building bicycles and playing with kites who go to the beach and invent one of the most transformative objects of the 20th century. He hopes re-creating their work will inspire future generations of aeronautical innovators. “[The Wrights] show a great practical application of mathematics,” he says. “They’re persistent. They’re brave.” And, he adds, they were so industrious and achieved so much, it’s hard to figure out when they slept.
Hyde and his team know something about this. They’ve been learning intently, sometimes sleeplessly, about the Wrights’
THERE ARE ONLY TWO GUYS who have built more Wright brothers’ airplanes than Ken Hyde and his Wright Experience team: Orville and Wilbur. Hyde’s count so far is 21. They include all the gliders built between 1900 and 1911, three 1903 Flyers, the long-lost 1908 Fort Myer Flyer, and four 1911 Model Bs (one with an original Wright engine).