“First Flight”: The Wright Flyer Experience Flight Simulator

by Jorgen “Troll” Toll


Back in 1903, December 17th 1903 to be exact, the brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright made the history books by being the first ever to construct and fly a powered aeroplane. Technically, this was only the “First Flight” by definition. The Brothers had constructed and flown gliders before their first powered flight.

Fast forward to present time. It’s 2003. In a few weeks, flight enthusiasts from all over the world will celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight.

A replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer has been built according to original blueprints, documents and the original “Flyer” found at the Smithsonian institution.

The Replica will be flown on December 17th by one of the candidates found at Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) web site .

The pilot candidates have been training hard in replica gliders, towed behind cars and with a flight simulator.

The flight simulator was supported in development by Bihrle Applied Research Inc. Bihrle is known for developing high-fidelity flight simulators for the military aviation industry. Their “First Flight” simulator build on test data obtained from wind tunnel testing of the 1903 Flyer replica, in NACA:s Wind tunnel at Langley.

This Flight simulation by Bihrle is commercially available for the PC Flight Sim enthusiast.

We at SimHQ were lucky indeed to obtain a copy of this centennial flight simulation from Bihrle.

I have been testing and flying the simulator for a months time and the following article represent my impressions.

I have not flown the Wright Flyer replica, and can not relate to the authenticity of the representation of the Flyers performance. However, I am a commercially licensed pilot with 1500 hours in my logbook, so I consider myself to have a better than average knowledge about flying aircraft.

The Simulator comes packed in a DVD case and contains a single CD and a Quick start guide. Nothing more, nothing less.

Installation was simple and painless and requires around 200MB of hard drive real-estate, which is almost nothing by today’s standards.

The menu screen, showed below, has options for 4 different flights, flight records and options.

The 4 flights available are:

Year Aircraft Location
1902 Glider The Glider at Jockey’s ridge
1903 Flyer The First powered flight at Kill Devil Hill, Kitty Hawk, NC.
1911 Model B The Wright Brothers first military demo flight at Fort Meyers, VA.
1911 Model B The Wright Brothers first training base at College Park, MD.

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