SKEPTICISM ABOUT BICYCLE MECHANICS. The Wright brothers had great difficulty in getting recognition for what they had done. One reason may have been that their approach was so different from that of other pioneers—viewing the problem as one of control rather than engine power. Another reason may be that neither of them had gotten a high school diploma and they were only bicycle mechanics.
The Wright brother flights at Kitty Hawk took place in December 1903, but it was only in 1908 that what they had done was recognized. In the interim, they had been called “bluffeurs” in Europe, and the Paris edition of the New York Herald had called them “either fliers or liars” .
Wilbur established their claim in 1908 in France by demonstrating what the the brothers had sought from the beginning—the ability to control their plane through banking turns, flying in a circle, executing a figure eight. The wikipedia entry says: “The French public was thrilled by Wilbur’s feats and flocked to the field by the thousands, and the Wright brothers instantly became world-famous.”