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Wright Model E

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Wright Model E

Wright Model E
Wright Model E, over Simms Station near Dayton, Ohio, 1913
Role Biplane
National origin United States of America
Manufacturer Wright Company
Designer Wright brothers
First flight 1913
Number built 1

The Wright Model E was the first in the series of Wright Flyers that used a single propeller[1] The aircraft was also the test demonstrator for the first automatic pilot control.


The Model E featured 24 inch tires. It was flown with four and six cylinder Wright engines.

The model E was fitted with a prototype autopilot that used a wind driven generator and pendulums to drive the wing warping controls. The design was quickly eclipsed by a gyroscopic autopilot developed by Lawrence Sperry for the competing Curtiss Aeroplane Company.[2]

Operational history

On 31 December 1913, Orville Wright demonstrated a Model E with a "automatic stabilizer" flying seven circuits around Huffman Prairie field with his hands above his head.[3] The Model E demonstrations earned the Wright Brothers the 1913 Collier Trophy from Aero Club of America.

Albert Elton (1881–1975) purchased the sole Wright Model E for exhibition flights.[4]

Specifications (Wright Model E)

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Length: 27 ft 9 in (8.46 m)
  • Wingspan: 32 ft (9.8 m)
  • Wing area: 316 sq ft (29.4 m2)
  • Empty weight: 730 lb (331 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × aircraft engine
  • Propellers: 2-bladed fixed pitch, 7 ft (2.1 m) diameter


  1. ^ "1913 Wright Model E". Retrieved 3 Feb 2011. 
  2. ^ Tom D. Crouch. The Bishop's boys: a life of Wilbur and Orville Wright. 
  3. ^ "Wright Automatic Stabilizer". New York Times. 6 Jan 1914. 
  4. ^ American Aviation Historical Society. American Aviation Historical Society journal, Volumes 9-11. 
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