WGBH Openvault

NOVA; Wright Brothers’ Flying Machine


Packaged 16x9 LETTERBOX green label master

License Clip

More material is available from this program at the WGBH Archive. If you are a researcher interested in accessing the collection at WGBH, please email archive_requests@wgbh.org.

Undigitized item: Request Digitization

Untranscribed item: Request Transcription

Wright Brothers’ Flying Machine
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered March 1974 NOVA is a general-interest documentary series that addresses a single science issue each week. Billed as "science adventures for curious grown-ups" when it first aired in March, 1974, NOVA continues to offer an informative and entertaining approach to a challenging subject. 1996 marked NOVA's 23rd season, which makes it the longest-running science program on national television. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over. Series release date: 3/3/1974

Program Description

December 17, 2003, marks the centennial of the world's first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. To celebrate this milestone, NOVA presents the definitive documentary on the invention of the airplane. While many shows have retold the Wright brothers' personal story, no program has properly explored the astonishing inventiveness that they applied to the problem of powered flight. NOVA reveals that the popular image of the Wrights as amateur bicycle mechanics who tinkered their way into the sky is a total myth. The program features exhilarating footage of flights by exclusively commissioned replicas that use the same original materials and the only existing Wright engine for the frail craft that first propelled humans toward the clouds. The triumph of powered flight comes alive once more in NOVA's epic documentary.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “NOVA; Wright Brothers’ Flying Machine,” 10/23/2003, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed March 22, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_D54C9603E09D4C2EA1252137B50C3B23.
MLA: “NOVA; Wright Brothers’ Flying Machine.” 10/23/2003. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. March 22, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_D54C9603E09D4C2EA1252137B50C3B23>.
APA: NOVA; Wright Brothers’ Flying Machine. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_D54C9603E09D4C2EA1252137B50C3B23
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.