The Wright Brothers, Orville (1871-1948) and Wilbur (1867-1912), were a pair of American inventors who are generally credited with making the first controlled, powered, heavier-than-air flight. In the years afterward, they developed their flying machine into the world's first practical fixed-wing aircraft, along with many other aviation milestones.
Although Wilbur was long dead by the time of the Race invaded Earth, Orville was living in Ohio when it was occupied. He survived the occupation, and died in 1948. Thus, Orville at least saw the logical evolutionary conclusion of the technology he and his brother pioneered, although he did not see America's launch into the space age.
Glen Johnson, a fellow Ohioan, wondered what the Wrights would have made of U.S. rocketry.
The Wright Brothers had their first successful flight in 1904. Their technology was employed by both the U.S. and the C.S., especially in the lead up to the Great War, which began a decade after that first flight. All participants in the war made use of the basic technology of the Wrights.
The US Air Corps was not at the forefront of developing new aviation technology; their British and German counterparts were the most innovative. American aviators such as Jonathan Moss wondered how it was that the nation which had invented the airplane had been unable to maintain its lead in the field of aviation.