Join the National Park Service in Celebrating National Aviation Day

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Date: August 8, 2016
Contact: Jin Prugsawan, 252-475-9402

The National Park Service and the First Flight Society invite you to celebrate National Aviation Day on Friday, August 19, 2016, at Wright Brothers National Memorial. The event will celebrate 100 years of the National Park Service protecting America’s treasures and provide opportunities to explore aviation from the time the Wright brothers first took flight to the boundaries we push today.

National Aviation Day was first proclaimed on August 19, 1939, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This day also coincides with Orville Wright’s birthday. In commemoration of what the Wright Brothers achieved, the park will host special guest speakers, pilots, have aircraft on display, and flight-related activities available for all visitors throughout the day. The park will be open from 9 am to 5 pm, and entrance fees will be waived for the event.

All-Day Activities:

Junior Ranger Program: Kids can pick-up a junior ranger booklet, learn about the Wright brothers to complete the activities, and be sworn-in as a junior ranger.

NASA Exhibits:

Explore models depicting the history of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) space program, experience the Journey to Mars exhibit, and see what is like to be living and working in space.

NOAA's Monitor National Marine Sanctuary: Stop by to learn about the work the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) does to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources. Learn about the nation's first sanctuary and how NOAA works to protect the rich and diverse cultural resources off North Carolina's coast. Find out how NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations' fleet of ships and aircraft facilitate Earth observations. Hear how NOAA's Hurricane Hunters, "Kermit" and "Miss Piggy," support hurricane and tropical storm research in the Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Pacific.

3-D Chalk Art Display: The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau is sponsoring a large-scale, "three-dimensional" public chalk art display. Visitors will be able to walk on and interact with the 3-D display created by artist Tracey Strum, who is internationally recognized and highly awarded for her street art. In recognition of the National Park Service Centennial, the collage will pay tribute to the Outer Banks National Parks - Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial.

Aviation Exploration: Join Tom Freeman, Safety and Education Specialist for the North Carolina Department of Transportation Aviation Division, as he explores the field of aviation through presentations and special activities.

Kite-Making and Stunt Kite Lessons: The Wright brothers first tested their flight theories by flying kites. Kitty Hawk Kites will be on hand to teach you how to make your very own kite. There will also be the opportunities to learn how to steer, swoop, and dive a stunt kite with a Kitty Hawk Kite instructor.

Aircraft on Display: Various airplanes and helicopters will be on display near the Wright Brothers Monument. Get a close look at modern-day flying machines and talk with their pilots.

Scheduled Activities:

All scheduled activities will take place in the Flight Room Auditorium in the visitor center unless otherwise stated.

10:00  - 10:20 am National Aviation Day Opening Remarks

A skydiver from Skydive Suffolk will kick off the day’s events by jumping into the park carrying the American Flag. Outer Banks Group Superintendent Dave Hallac and First Flight Society President Mike Smith will then provide opening remarks and invite all to celebrate National Aviation Day. Meet near NPS tent.

10:30 – 11:00 am First Flight Tour

Step back into history during this short walk to the actual site of the Wrights’ first powered flights. Learn more about the first flight and the events of that historic December day. Meet at Visitor Center Patio.

10:30 – 10:55 am Maiden Flight

Harry Haskell previews his new novel Maiden Flight, the true-life story of the “Wright sister,” Katharine, who left her world-famous brother Orville to marry the man she loved--the author's grandfather. Drawing on intimate family letters, the author will shed new light on an exceptional woman’s struggle for independence and fulfillment.

11:00 – 11:25 am First to Fly?

Were the Wright brothers really the first in history to fly? What about the stories of other experimenters who claim to have preceded them? Dr. Tom Crouch of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum will discuss the evidence for those claims and uncover the truth!

12:00 – 12:25 pm 100 Years of National Parks and its Connection to Aviation

National Parks and Aviation, they are both ideas born in America and are now part of our National Heritage. Join Park Ranger Darrell Collins to discover more about the national parks that keep the stories of our aviation heritage alive.

12:30 – 12:55 pm US Coast Guard Storytellers

Honoring 100 years of distinguished aviation service by the men and women of the United States Coast Guard, a Coast Guard Aviator will lead you through the progression of flight, innovation, and the Coast Guard’s contribution to our Nation’s well being.

1:00 pm US Coast Guard Aircraft Flyover

*Weather Dependent

1:00 – 1:25 pm Flight Room Talk

Learn how the Wright brothers solved the problems of human flight as a park ranger tells the story of their triumph at Kitty Hawk. Visitor Center Flight Room Auditorium

2:00 – 2:25 pm The National Park Service Celebrates Flight!

In celebration of the centennial of the National Park Service, Dr. Tom Crouch of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will discuss the history of Wright Brothers National Memorial, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, three National Park sites commemorating historic moments in American aviation.

3:00 – 3:30 pm First Flight Tour (see above)

3:00 – 3:25 pm US Coast Guard Storytellers (see above)

3:30 – 3:55 pm Maiden Flight (see above)

4:00 – 4:25 pm Flight Room Talk (see above)

The First Flight Society is a long-standing partner of the National Park Service. For more information, see

National Aviation Day 2016

Last updated: August 8, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Wright Brothers National Memorial
1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954


(252) 473-2111

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