12 - 12 Seconds that Changed the World

12 Seconds that Changed the World wayside where it sits outside. A paved path can be seen behind it.
12 Seconds that Changed the World wayside.


WAYSIDE TITLE: 12 Seconds that Changed the World

WAYSIDE LAYOUT: Cream colored, landscape-oriented rectangular panel featuring a black band across the top. The black band has text that reads, “Wright Brothers National Memorial” and “National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior”. On the right side of the band is the NPS Logo. The panel features text in the top third of the panel. The bottom third of the panel features a large artistic rendering of the first flight, including the two camp buildings. Next to the painting, is a black and white photograph of the actual first flight.

VIEW FROM WAYSIDE: The First Flight Sculpture is about 50 yards behind this wayside. The sculpture is on a sandy surface and surrounded by green grass. About 40 feet to the left of the sculpture is a small tree with a bench beneath it.

TEXT: 12 Seconds That Changed the World. After more than four years of hard work and experimentation, it only took the Wright Brothers 12 seconds to change the world. On December 17, 1903, at 10:35 a.m., Orville wright made the world’s first controlled, powered, heavier-than-air flight.The photograph that documented the Wrights’ success was taken by John T. Daniels, a Kill Devil Hills Life Saving Station surfman, who had never used a camera before. It was not until the Wright Brothers returned to Dayton, Ohio, that they developed the photograph and saw their first flight captured on film. The Daniels’ photo, however, only gives one perspective of that historic event – from the back of the airplane.Stephen Smith’s “First Flight” sculpture, unveiled during the 2003 Centennial, and Frank Wootton’s painting help us see the first flight from different angles. Just as the Wright Brothers’ success depended on viewing the problems of flight in novel and creative ways, perhaps these new perspectives will inspire us to change the world and explore new horizons.

DESCRIPTION #1: Black and white photograph of the first flight. The 1903 flyer is centered flying away from the viewer, just getting liftoff from the rail below it. A man, Orville Wright, is seen lying on his stomach in the center of the flyer. Another man dressed in a dark suit is standing to the side of the flyer’s wings on the right side of the photo.

CAPTION: John T. Daniels, a Kill Devil Hills Life Saving Station surfman, took this photograph (above), documenting the first flight. Stand beside the sculpture of Surfman Daniels to see if you can capture this image.

DESCRIPTION #2: A gold framed painting of the first flight, as depicted from the front of the flyer. The sky is blue and patched with grey, fluffy clouds. The painting is set farther away than the photograph, showing the witnesses much smaller. The two camp buildings can be seen close by to the flyer and the witnesses on the left.

CAPTION: Frank Wootton’s painting (right) of the first flight offers another view of the historic event.

Wright Brothers National Memorial

Last updated: August 3, 2021