• The iconic first flight of the Wright brothers in their 1903 Wright Flyer

    Wright Brothers

    National Memorial North Carolina

First Flight Achievement to be Celebrated on December 17, 2009

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Date: December 11, 2009
Contact: Wright Brothers National Memorial, 252-441-7439

On Thursday, December 17, 2009 the First Flight Society and the National Park Service will continue the tradition of honoring the accomplishments of Wilbur and Orville Wright at the 106th anniversary celebration of the first heavier-than-air powered flight.  The event will take place at Wright Brothers National Memorial; park entrance fees will be waived for the day.

The observance will launch at 8:30 a.m. with a short wreath-laying ceremony at the exact spot where the famous first flight occurred.  In this event, the Wright brothers and the witnesses of the first flight will be honored by the National Park Service and the descendents of the witnesses.  This program segment will start at the Wright Brothers Visitor Center.

The formal program begins at 9 a.m. in the First Flight Pavilion, preceded with a patriotic musical prelude by the Northeastern High School Band from Elizabeth City, NC.  Nags Head Elementary School students participating in the Wright Flight academic achievement program will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.  This year distinguished guest speaker will be Amanda Wright Lane, the great grandniece of Wilbur and Orville.  Mrs. Lane is representing the City of Dayton, Ohio and will pay tribute to her great-granduncles Wilbur and Orville Wright during her presentation.  Dr. Tom Crouch, Senior Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will provide a tribute to this year’s honorees Lieutenants Frederick E. Humphreys and Frank P. Lahm.  This year’s inductees to the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine were the first military pilots trained by Wilbur Wright at College Park, MD in 1909, marking the beginning of military aviation. 

The annual aircraft fly-by will commence at 10:35 a.m. - the documented exact moment of the Wrights’ first flight.  

The park’s museum exhibits and activities throughout the day will provide an atmosphere of enjoyable learning about one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century.  The visitor center will open at 8 a.m.  Scheduled programs include: Flight Room Talk at 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.  Children are also invited to participate in the park’s Junior Ranger program. 

For more information, call the National Park Service at (252) 441-7430.

Did You Know?

Six Blue Angles jets flying over the monument on top of Kill Devil Hill.

Although the town of Kitty Hawk is always associated with the exploits of the Wright brothers, most of their flying experiments took place about 4 miles to the south on the sands of Kill Devil Hills. The town of Kill Devil Hills, where the memorial is located, was incorporated in 1953.