Our Progress
This is our Progress Log. Entries are listed below, beginning with the most recent. We are frequently updating this page, so please check back often!

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Monday, 3/17/2003 - Wright Redux Association Receives Airworthiness Certificate from Federal Aviation Administration

FAA: “Plane Cleared to Attempt Powered Flight”

Glen Ellyn, Illinois, March 17, 2003 - Following an inspection by personnel from the DuPage Flight Standards District Office, West Chicago, the Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday, March 15th, presented the Wright Redux Association with an Airworthiness Certificate for their replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. The plane, called the "Spirit of Glen Ellyn" is now cleared to attempt powered flight.

The "Spirit of Glen Ellyn" appears to be the first Wright Flyer replica that is being certificated in accordance with a new FAA Policy, designed specifically for 1903 Wright Flyer replica aircraft. The DuPage Flight Standards District Office was a great asset in meeting today's milestone. Wright Redux's contact with them over a year ago helped steer the association through Saturday's certification process.

"We have been waiting for this day for three years," said Mark Miller, co-president of Wright Redux. "We are now very close realizing our dream of flying this replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. It's been an amazing team effort and now it looks like we are going to make this happen."

Ted Craft, co-president stated," Our job now is to get our pilots getting comfortable with the "Spirit of Glen Ellyn." We believe a couple more weeks of test "towing" with our flat bed trailer and we will be ready to fly early this spring."

"The effort to build an exact replica has been time consuming, and at some points, very difficult," said Mike Perry, secretary of Wright Redux. "But we began this dedicated to the proposition that we would build the "Spirit of Glen Ellyn" as a complete 1903 Wright Flyer "replica" and we believe we have achieved that goal."

1903 Wright Flyer replica details built into the "Spirit of Glen Ellyn" include an exact copy of the Wright's 11 horsepower, water-cooled, gasoline powered, four-stroke, four cylinder, internal combustion aluminum engine that is being built by Packer Engineering of Naperville; creation of a muslin wing fabric that an analysis by the International Textile Center at Texas Tech University at Lubbock found is one thread off the original Wright fabric (216, "Spirit of GE" v. 217, original); and an airframe that is constructed of 100 percent authentic Sitka spruce and ash, all donated by Horn Lumber of Chicago.

"The Spirit of Glen Ellyn" is scheduled to fly publicly on the front lawn of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, September 20-21, 2003 as the featured highlight of the City of Chicago's Centennial of Flight observance this fall. Following those flights, the plane will be donated to the museum for permanent display. The "Spirit of Glen Ellyn" will be officially unveiled to the public at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry on December 17, 2003, 100 years to the day after the Wrights first flew at Kitty Hawk, NC.

Wright Redux also announced that History Channel is video taping the effort to fly the "Spirit of Glen Ellyn" for inclusion in a documentary on the centennial of flight that is scheduled to be aired on the History Channel this fall.

The Wright Redux Association is a not-for-profit volunteer association dedicated to the construction and flying of an exact replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer.

Saturday, 3/15/2003 - The "Spirit of Glen Ellyn" is FAA Certified!
  The Wright Redux Association received the Special Airworthiness Certificate today in the category of "Experimental" and for the purpose of "Exhibition." See the certificate and a happy Wright Redux Association crew.

Sunday, 2/2/2003 - Final Props Mounted and Tested
  Today we mounted and spin-tested the final props. Conclusion? Smooth and successful! Photos.

Saturday, 2/1/2003 - Lift Tests with Pilot
  We made our first lift tests today with a pilot. Mike Gillian positioned himself across the lower wing as we tested him and the Spriit of Glen Ellyn together. For the first time, we achieved lift with a pilot aboard. Photos.

Wednesday, 1/8/2003 - Packer Replica Engine
  Packer Engineering is making progress on the Spirit of Glen Ellyn's Wright Replica engine. Photos show some of the manufacturing processes.

Sunday, 12/8/2002 - Special Visitors Throughout the Day

Sunday was a very busy day with visitors. Our first guests were two VIPs from the Museum of Science and Industry of Chicago. They were Kurt Haunfelner, Vice President of Exhibits and Collections and Mark Hayward, Director of Collection, Head Curator. They came out to see our progress on the Spirit of Glen Ellyn Wright Flyer and discuss tentative plans for displaying the plane in the museum's Great Hall in 2003. Among the topics discussed were how the Wright Flyer will fit into the City of Chicago's plans to celebrate the Centennial of Flight. It was an exciting discussion.

The Spirit of Glen Ellyn Wright Flyer was also visited by Windy City Chapter of Women in Aviation. About a dozen of their members and friends were very pleased to view the Spirit and listen to Mark Miller give a presentation.

Another of our guests was Bob Burgdorfer of Reuters News Service who interviewed the Wright Redux crew for a possible news story. Bob, a pilot himself who often flys out of Clow airport, got wind of our project from the folks around the airfield. See photos of the day.

Sunday, 10/27/2002 - Weight and Balance
  Ed Meyer (FAA Certified) officially performed and documented the weight and balance of the Spirit of Glen Ellyn. The good news is she has a center of gravity dead-on to the crown of her wings. This is the best possible place for an aircraft's CG. The bad news? She's slightly over weight. But we have a good idea of the cause and plan to remedy that over the upcoming weeks. See photos.

Sunday, 10/20/2002 - Lift Tests
  More lift tests of the "Spirit of Glen Ellyn" continue to prove good results. See photos.

Tuesday, 10/15/2002 - Spirit of Glen Ellyn Successfully Completes Lift Test

Plane Looks "Good-to-Go" for Engine-Driven Flight

Glen Ellyn, Il., October 15, 2002 - The Wright Redux Association of Glen Ellyn, working with Packer Engineering of Naperville, today announced that The Spirit of Glen Ellyn, an exact replica of the first Wright Brothers airplane, has successfully completed an initial test of the lifting ability of the airframe. The trial, held at Clow International Airport in Bolingbrook, Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 12th, proved that the plane's wing will provide the lift needed to launch the machine into the air. The test was conducted with the airframe alone. The plane was not piloted or powered. Wright Redux believes that based on today's positive results a manned, engine-driven flight for the craft is likely in the near future. See photos of press day.

Commenting on today's success, Wright Redux Co-Presidents, Ted Craft and Mark Miller said, "For our organization, this is a thrilling result. Three years of effort has resulted in wings that provide lift," said the two Glen Ellyn residents. "Wright Redux is going to conduct a progressive series of tests to assure that the airframe is ready for our pilots to take the controls, first for unpowered tests and finally for powered test flights. We will then complete our goal of building and flying an exact replica of the 1903 Wright Brothers airplane for the 100th Anniversary of the original flight."

Today's flight test was designed and run jointly by Wright Redux and Packer Engineering of Naperville. "The results today prove conclusively that Wright Redux has solved the puzzle of the wing on 1903 Wright Flyer," said Ken Packer, founder and CEO of Packer Engineering. "This is a huge step. We at Packer Engineering are dedicated to supporting the group in every way possible to get this plane safely and successfully into the air with a pilot and an engine as soon as possible."

The Spirit of Glen Ellyn is being constructed as an exact replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. The plane is sponsored by the Chicago Museum of Science And Industry and the National Geographic Society. Packer Engineering is constructing an exact replica engine that will be used on the plane when it flies next year. The goal of the group is to launch the plane from the lawn of the Museum of Science and Industry on December 17, 2003.

The Wright Redux Association is a not-for-profit volunteer association dedicated to the construction and flying of an exact replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. Key contributors to the Spirit of Glen Ellyn include Horn Lumber of Chicago, The Glen Ellyn Jaycees, The Glen Ellyn Wheaton Community Bank, The Glen Ellyn Rotary, and several private citizens who have donated time, materials, money and support for this project.

The Midwest volunteer group fabricating the Spirit of Glen Ellyn 1903 replica engine include: Packer Engineering, Packer Technologies International, Bison Gear, Insight Automated, Inc., Peterson Spring, American Foundry Society, Wheatland Machine, Beery Heating & Cooling, Jerry' Welding, NAPCO Steel, Inc., MTI, Inc., Arnold Engineering Company, Austin Group, Willard Industries, Arrow Gear, Craftsman Tool & Mold, Bison Electric, TRW, Phoenix Electric Manufacturing, Scot Inc., and Auto Machine Inc.

Saturday, 9/14/2002 - Upper & Lower Wings are Joined!
  It was an historical day for Wright Redux, as the "Spirit of Glen Ellyn" takes shape. The upper and lower wings are joined and the under carriage is attached. See the photos (20) of this Saturday's progress.

Saturday, 8/25/2002 - Progress on upper wing nears completion.
  The upper wing assembly was stitched by Jean Mumford. Launch rail assembly is in progress. Upper wing ends are under construction. See photos.

Saturday, 8/3/2002 - The Spirit of Glen Ellyn Moves to a New Home
  The Wright Redux replica Wright Flyer has packed up and moved to its new home in Packer Engineering's hangar at a nearby airfield. The 14 photos of this move tell the story.

Sunday, 7/28/2002 - Confusion about the Engine put to Rest
  There seems to be some confusion about the engine Wright Redux plans to use to fly the Spirit of Glen Ellyn. Some people report that we’re going to use a modern lawnmower-type engine modified to fit the plane. Some people say we’re using strictly replica components built according to the Wright Flyer engine prints. Well, they’re both right.

A modern four-stroke engine that we’re calling the “placeholder engine“ will power the early test flights. There’s a couple of reasons for this. Several test flights will be required to fine-tune the aircraft control system. This is also the time to train the pilot to learn all the idiosyncrasies of the Wright Flyer. We want a power plant that we’re familiar with, one that’s predictable and one that we know how to control for these initial tests. The fewer the unknowns the better.

The placeholder engine will be joined to a transmission designed and fabricated according to Wright specs. When the placeholder is no longer needed it will be removed and the replica will take its place, joining right up to the transmission. At that time the aircraft with the replica engine will undergo further flight-testing. Together they become the complete 1903 Wright Flyer replica to be placed on display at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry on December 17, 2003.

Monday, 6/17/2002 - Wright Redux Association today ran successful vibration tests on the Wright 1903 replica flyer.

Glen Ellyn, IL., June 17, 2002 - The Wright Redux Association today ran vibration tests on the Wright 1903 replica flyer. The temporary placeholder engine spun the simulator props successfully on two attempts, much to the joy of the Wright Redux Association President Tom Norton and Vice President Mark Miller. It was another exciting milestone towards the goal of flying the 1903 replica. In attendance was Dr. Kenneth F. Packer, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Packer Engineering of Naperville, Illinois. Dr. Packer and his company agreed to build the replica engine for the 1903 Wright Brothers replica airplane being tested today.

Several members of the media, also in attendance, included Frank Mathie of ABC TV channel 7, Ted Gregory of the Chicago Tribune, an NBC TV channel 5 crew, a CLTV crew, and others.

Also unveiled today was the nearly completed upper wing assembly. The Wrights designed the wings to be disassembled for shipment from Dayton to Kitty Hawk. Per their design, the upper wing is made up of three sections which are bolted together and the fabric stitched closed. The three wing sections Wright Redux has on display are bolted into one complete wing with the fabric ends remaining open to display the wonderfully crafted hardware produced from the Wright's design. From tip to tip the wing is 40 feet 4 inches long. View photos of the day.

Monday, 6/17/2002 - Packer Engineering of Naperville, Illinois to Build the Wright Redux 1903 Wright Brothers Replica Engine

Glen Ellyn, IL., June 17, 2002 - The Wright Redux Association today announced that it has reached agreement with Packer Engineering of Naperville to build the replica engine for the 1903 Wright Brothers airplane that group is constructing. This is the last major component needed by Wright Redux to fly the plane, called the "Spirit of Glen Ellyn," at the Chicago Science and Industry Museum on the Centennial of Flight, December 17, 2003.

"This is a wonderful day for the Wright Redux project," said Tom Norton, President of Wright Redux. "We have traveled all over the Midwest looking for a firm that was willing to build the '03 engine, and we are delighted that our neighbors in Naperville will be our partners in this venture."

"This an important project that honors the spirit of the Wright's remarkable aviation engineering breakthroughs of 100 years ago," said Dr. Kenneth F. Packer, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Packer Engineering. "We are proud to be associated with Wright Redux and look forward to producing the engine that will lift the "Spirit of Glen Ellyn" off the lawn of the Science and Industry Museum in December of 2002."

The Wright Redux plane is scheduled to undergo airworthiness tests this summer using a temporary engine. This motor will be removed next year and replaced by the new Packer Engineering replica engine that will power the plane during the December 17, 2003 flight in Chicago.

Packer Engineering (www.packereng.com) is a vibrant multi-service engineering company. The firm's work applies scientific methodology to the principles of engineering to obtain the correct answer to the problems it is asked to solve. The company's engineers, scientists and technologists have strong academic credentials as well as vital industrial experience. Packer specializes in aviation safety and management, building systems, structures, and construction services, along with a wide array of other engineering services.

Sunday, 5/4/2002 - Canard Sew Job
  See photos of completed canard.

Saturday, 5/4/2002 - Visit to Rose Cushman
  Saturday May 4, 2002 Rose Cushman and her daughter Sandy invite Wright Redux to photograph Thomas Cushman’s 1926 pilot’s license signed by Orville Wright. See photo’s of Rose holding the license as well as close-ups of the license itself. Thank you Rose and Sandy for this exciting opportunity.

Saturday, 4/27/2002 - Mrs. Rose Lee Cushman visits Wright Redux
  Wright Redux was honored to receive a visit from Mrs. Rose Lee Cushman, widow of the late Thomas A. Cushman. Thomas, at the age of 16, was licensed by Orville Wright of the Orville/Wilbur American airplane inventor’s team. Orville Wright himself signed the license. Wright Redux plans to photograph the license, currently secured in a safety deposit box, and present it here on the Wright Redux website. During her visit Mrs. Cushman expressed how thrilled she was to view the 1903 Wright Flyer under construction, and to share her husband’s connection with the Wright brothers. Please view a photo of Rose along with a news clipping photo of Thomas. Thank you Rose.

Saturday, 3/23/2002 - Aircraft Quality Spruce is In
  We have received the aircraft quality Spruce (the Wright's choice). It's very straight, very tight grain is the choice of aircraft builders. See a sample of the wood here.

Saturday, 2/9/2002 - Team Meeting / Shop Activity

Saturday, 1/25/2002 - Activity - Jan 25, 2002

Thursday, 1/24/2002 - Wright Redux to Participate in National Celebration of the Centennial of Flight

The Wright Redux Association announced today that their activities will be listed as a part of the national Centennial of Flight celebration being coordinated by the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission.

"We are pleased to join the Commission in the official observance of the Wright's accomplishments nearly 100 years ago," said Tom Norton, President of the Wright Redux Association. "Among other activities, we will be posting our calendar of activities on the Commission's Web site."

Wednesday, 1/23/2002 - FAA Assigns N-Number
  The N-Number has been assigned to the Spirit of Glen Ellyn Wright Brothers Flyer. It is: N203WF
You can see it for yourself at the FAA site.

Saturday, 1/19/2002 - Activity - Jan 19, 2002
  A few pictures of this day's shop activity.

Monday, 12/17/2001 - Propeller Spin Test
  The Wright Redux Association and the 1903 Wright Flyer airframe reproduction is another step closer to its flight on the lawn of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry in 2003.

This replica flyer is being created and assembled of Sitka spruce and ash, the same woods the Wright brothers used. "The effort to build and fly a replica of the 1903 Wright Flier is a combination of intellectual probing, precise craftsmanship and a lot of painstaking hard work," says Mark Miller. Mark also built the prototype propeller being tested today.

As Tom Norton starts the live "spin test" several members of the community and local media look on in anticipation. This prop test was designed to determine and analyze the thrust that the prop developed. "It's a great moment... and a very important day for us" Norton said as the test went flawlessly.

"This is exceeding what we expected. I was very happy," Miller said. "We got a good hit of thrust and the prop didn't come apart."

The completed aircraft will be 21-feet long, have a 40-foot wingspan and weigh approximately 750 pounds. The pilot of this aircraft will control its lateral movement by warping the wing tips in opposite directions through a series of wires attached to a hip cradle mounted on the lower wing. By shifting his hips from side to side the pilot controls the wings as well as the rudder.

Today was a great success!

(Excerpted from the Glen Ellyn News story by Bill Jablonski.)

See the spin test photos at:


Wednesday, 7/11/2001 - Assembly photo.
See the latest assembly photos at:

©2001 The Wright Redux Association
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