Slightly off-topic for this thread, but if you want to know who did what and when between 1895 and 1909 when the basics of controlled flight were being worked out, read "Kill Devil Hill" by Harry Combs - he was the Learjet chief test pilot and, so by far the best qualified author to have written about the early days of flight. This book shows that, while its not hard to make a machine fly under its own power, making it fly stably is quite a bit harder and making it both easily controllable and stable is at least an order of magnitude harder still. It describes the thought and experimentation that went into achieving all this. Finally, not getting killed while doing all that takes exceptional engineering and problem analysis skills.
That Harry Combs manages to cover all that in a pretty readable book shows that he is a pretty good author too. While his book is primarily about the Wrights, it also covers all all the work done by other pioneers in Europe, UK and North America