After a year of exhaustive study and experiments with models in their wind tunnel, the Wright Brothers were ready to experiment with a man-carrying glider. With the thoroughness that was typical of every move of the Wrights, the brothers asked the government to let them have information on meteorological conditions all over the country. By studying the weather charts they were able to find a locality where there was a continual flow of wind. This would be nature’s wind tunnel where they could test their glider day after day. Through their study of the charts they found that the wind conditions at Kitty Hawk, on the North Carolina coast, seemed to offer the best possibilities for their glider test.
Orville and Wilbur Wright began their experiments with a small man-carrying glider at Kitty Hawk in 1900. From that time until 1903 they made hundreds of successful glider flights and kept accurate records of each flight. They recorded wind velocity, angle of flight, duration of flight, time of day, temperature, humidity, and sky conditions overhead with the typical Wright attention to detail. Each year the Wrights constructed new gliders which embodied principles they had discovered for themselves during their flights at Kitty Hawk. Each glider was larger and had longer and narrower wings than the one before. During the fall of 1902 the brothers recorded nearly a thousand flights in a glider with a wingspan of thirty-two feet. It had a front elevator and a vertical tail which helped to maintain lateral stability.