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Wright Model L

United States (1916)
Picture of Wright Model L Scout Biplane Aircraft Prototype

The last aircraft to receive design input from the Wright Brothers - the Model L biplane - proved a commercial failure for the Wright Company and forced a focus on aero-engines instead.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Wright Model L Scout Biplane Aircraft Prototype.  Entry last updated on 5/21/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The final aircraft to be produced by the Wright Company was the Wright "Model L". Designed and developed along the lines of a fast military-minded reconnaissance platform (referred to during the period as a "scout"), the aircraft followed conventional thinking of 1916 with its biplane wing arrangement, open -air cockpit and fixed wheeled undercarriage. The wings were affixed to one another by way of parallel struts and cabling assisted in controlling the new aircraft. This product became the last aircraft to receive any input from one of the famous brothers.

As speed for the design was of the essence, much care was taken to produce a most streamlined shape and this resulted in a relatively clean, long fuselage showcasing slab sides and the engine fitted to the nose in the usual way, driving a two-bladed wooden propeller. The aft section of the aircraft was dominated by a rather large and ungainly tailplane arrangement - the horizontal planes were well-contoured along the sides of the empennage but of considerable surface area. Conversely, the sole vertical tail fin was small in area and rounded for aerodynamic efficiency. No foot-actuated rudder controls were fitted in the cockpit - instead such controlling was managed by a grip found on the right side of the steering-wheel-like control yoke. The engine powering the aircraft was an in-house Wright 6-60 series installation.

In testing the Model L was proven to be no faster than competing designs of the period - it reached approximately 80 miles per hour in its basic load out as too much drag was being generated by the large horizontal tail surfaces. This eventually led to very little interest on the part of military players around the globe - included the United States Army's air service branch. With no endorsement to be found at home, the product saw even less interest overseas - this even amidst a World War over Europe.

As such the Wright Model L proved a market failure for the company and forced its attention on the design and development of aero-engines and automobile engines for the foreseeable future. This opened a new chapter for the company as Wright became associated with many of the powerplants fitted to various aircraft that emerged in the decades ahead - well into World War 2.

The Wright company name was eventually merged with the famous Glenn L. Martin company to form Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation. The arrangement fell apart shortly thereafter when Martin himself resigned and the company became Wright Aeronautical in 1919 and then ending as Curtiss-Wright Corporation in a 1929 merger.

Any available statistics for the Wright Model L Scout Biplane Aircraft Prototype are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (81mph).

    Graph average of 75 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era Impact
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
25
25


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: United States
Service Year: 1916
Classification Type: Scout Biplane Aircraft Prototype
Manufacturer(s): Wright Company - USA
Production Units: 25
Operational Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
United States
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Wright Model L model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
24.28 ft


Meters
7.4 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
28.87 ft


Meters
8.8 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
849 lb


Kilograms
385 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x 6-cylinder engine developing 75 horsepower while driving two-bladed wooden propeller at the nose.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
81 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
130 kph


Knots
70 kts

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Model L - Base Series Designation