National Park Service Press Release

For Immediate Release:
November 18, 2003
Shannon Bell, (202) 354-2215
Gerry Gaumer, (202) 208-6843

Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms

100 Years of Aviation History

(Washington, D.C.) -- On December 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, took the world’s first motorized flight with a 12-second trip on the beach at Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Today, as part of the Nation’s commemoration of the Centennial of Flight, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places launches its newest online travel itinerary, Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms at

In partnership with National Park Service Regional Offices, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, the United States Air Force, the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, this is the National Register’s largest online travel itinerary. It features 105 places where aviation history was made; from the Wright Brothers first flight through America’s space program.

“This newest travel itinerary, celebrates America’s aviation pioneers, and highlights more than 100 places listed in the National Register of Historic Places--historic aircraft, airfields, research and testing facilities, aeronautical and engineering research laboratories, military installations, space launch sites and control facilities. Together, these places tell the stories of the significant people and events that made the United States the world’s leader in aviation,” said National Park Service Director Fran Mainella.

The travel itinerary invites visitors to explore historic places associated with early aviators, commercial and military aviation, Cold War sites, and the “space race” that began with the Soviet Union’s launching of Sputnik on October 4, 1957. The significance of each historic place in the itinerary is described and illustrated with color and historic photographs. Six essays offer historical context. The itinerary also provides public accessibility information for each historic place and links to other aviation-related websites as well as those offering information on the centennial of flight celebration.

Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms is the 29th National Register travel itinerary successfully created through partnerships with communities, regions, and Heritage Areas throughout the United States. By promoting historic preservation and heritage tourism in these communities across the country, the National Register of Historic Places Discover Our Shared Heritage travel itinerary series is a part of the Department of the Interior’s leading role in supporting the Preserve America initiative.


EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™ The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms