Orville Wright made the first powered, sustained, controlled, heavier-than-air flight at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. His first flight was 120 feet in 12 seconds at a height of only a few feet off the ground.
The brothers continued their development work in a Dayton Ohio cow pasture in 1904 and 1905. By the fall of 1905, they had transformed the marginal success of 1903 into a practical airplane capable of traveling many miles through the air while remaining aloft for more than an hour at a time.
They were worried about being copied so the brothers remained out of public view for the next two and a half years as they marketed their invention. By 1908 the Wright Brothers had secured contracts for the sale of airplanes to a French syndicate and the U.S. Army, so they were ready to make public flights. They returned to Kill Devil Hills with a rebuilt version of their 1905 airplane, now modified with two upright seats and cable controls.