In 1903 the first manned airplane, invented by Orville and Wilbur Wright, took to the skies in Kitty Hawk , North Carolina . The Wright Brothers grew up in Dayton and owned their own bicycle repair and maintenance shop where they learned mechanics and engineering. For many years, Orville and Wilbur studied previous aviation attempts, and after countless tests and trials, they constructed the first 600-pound functional airplane. The first flight on December 14, 1903 lasted 12 seconds.The Wright flyer, the first practical military aircraft, was purchased in 1909 by the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Without the engineering skills and innovation of the Wright brothers, air travel would not be what it is today.