News Release

Celebrate National Aviation Day at Wright Brothers National Memorial

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: August 1, 2017
Contact: Jin Prugsawan, 252-475-9402

Wright Brothers National Memorial and the First Flight Society invite you to celebrate National Aviation Day on Saturday, August 19, 2017. The park will be open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and entrance fees will be waived for the event. The opening ceremony will begin at 9:45 am at the large covered tent south of the temporary visitor center. This special event will provide opportunities to explore aviation from the time the Wright brothers first took flight through modern aviation and space exploration today.

National Aviation Day was first proclaimed on August 19, 1939, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This day also coincides with Orville Wright’s birth date. In commemoration of what the Wright brothers achieved, the park will host special guest speakers, pilots, aircraft displays, and flight-related activities.  Participating partners and exhibitors include the First Flight Society, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center, United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, Outer Banks Tourism Bureau, Kitty Hawk Kites, Skydive OBX, First Flight Foundation, North Carolina Department of Transportation, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Dare County Regional Airport, Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - North Carolina Coastal Plain Wildlife Refuge Complex, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, Dare County Radio Control Flyers, Jockey’s Ridge State Park, and Outer Banks Repeater Association. All activities and events will take place on the park grounds. Plan to spend the majority of your visit outside and prepare for hot weather. For more information, see the detailed descriptions of activities and the schedule of events listed below.

All-Day Activities:
National Park Service First Flight Junior Ranger: Pick up a junior ranger activity booklet from the temporary visitor center to learn about the Wright brothers and their journey to fly. Upon completion of the activity booklet, you will be sworn-in as an official First Flight Junior Ranger and receive your very own junior ranger badge!

National Park Service Social Media Scavenger Hunt: Pick up a scavenger hunt task list from the temporary visitor center that will direct you to explore the grounds and discover more about the history of Wright Brothers National Memorial. Share your experience on social media. #WrightBrosNPS #NationalAviationDay

First Flight Society Aircraft Display and Flyovers: The First Flight Society has arranged various airplane and helicopter displays near the Wright Monument. Get a close look at modern-day flying machines and talk with their pilots. Throughout the day, look to the sky for aircraft flyovers. (Weather Permitting)

NASA Langley Research Center: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center’s Centennial Experience Trailer will allow you discover 100 years of historic accomplishments related to aeronautics, science and space research, and exploration. Inside the Centennial Experience Trailer discover a variety of NASA artifacts, audiovisual technology and unique 3D imagery. Be immersed in Langley’s early beginnings as the first civilian aeronautics lab to becoming the birthplace of the NASA. You will have the opportunity to go with NASA as we take the next giant leaps- to make airplanes fly faster, cleaner and quieter, to improve our understanding of our home planet, Earth, and to have humans journey to Mars. Leave excited about Langley’s stories, legacy, and get ready to be part of its soaring future!

Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Sponsors Imagine Circus: Are they merely statues of Orville and Wilbur or are they alive? Come find out and take a selfie with the bronzed Wright Brothers presented by Imagine Circus.

NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary: Learn about the work the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) does to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources. Learn more 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 support hurricane and tropical storm research in the Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Pacific.

Outer Banks Repeaters Association: The Outer Banks Repeaters Association/Amateur Radio/Ham Radio Club will take National Aviation Day celebrations on air nationally and internationally. Stop by the temporary radio station to learn about amateur radio and how you can communicate with the International Space Station!

NCDOT 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.

Kitty Hawk Kites Kite-Making, Stunt Kite Lessons, and a 1902 Wright Glider Replica: 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 to fly where the Wrights flew theirs. For those who want a more advanced kite flying experience, a Kitty Hawk Kite instructor can teach you how to steer, swoop, and dive a stunt kite. Kitty Hawk Kites will also have their museum quality 1902 Wright Glider replica on display. Take pictures and learn about the glider that Wilbur and Orville Wright used to teach themselves how to fly! (Weather Permitting)

Dare County Radio Control Flyers: The Dare County Radio Control Flyers will have their model helicopters and planes on display. Learn about the fun of flying radio controlled aircraft and model aviation.

Schedule of Events:

Time Program Description Location
9:00- 11:30 am Wright Brothers Monument Base Tour The First Flight Foundation will have the base of the Wright Monument open to the public to drop in and see the inside of the monument. (Weather Permitting) Wright Monument on Big Kill Devil Hill
9:45 am Skydive OBX American Flag Jump & National Anthem Skydivers from Skydive OBX will jump the American Flag into Wright Brothers National Memorial while the National Anthem plays to start the day’s celebration. (Weather Permitting) Watch from the field in front of the tent south of the temporary visitor center
9:50- 10:00 am Welcome & Opening Remarks Welcome from Outer Banks Group Superintendent Dave Hallac and First Flight Society President Joe Lamothe. Learn about the events taking place throughout the day and the history of Aviation Day. Meet in the tent-covered seating area south of the temporary visitor center
10:00- 10:30 am The Wright Legacy Twelve seconds was all the Wright brothers needed to show the world humans can fly. Discover what inspired the Wrights to defy impossibility in their pursuit of flight, what pushed them to keep going, and how they are remembered in the world today. Meet in the tent-covered seating area south of the temporary visitor center
10:30 – 10:55 am First Flight Tour Step back into history during this short walk to the actual site of the Wrights’ first powered flights. Discover why the Wrights chose Kitty Hawk for their flight experiments and what life was like in the Outer Banks. Meet at the reconstructed camp buildings
11:00 – 11:25 am The Wright Legacy See description above. Tent
11:00 – 11:25 am Flying Paper Airplanes Explore the scientific methods used by the Wrights to unlock the secrets of flight. Test your own paper airplane and learn how to improve your designs to achieve longer flights. Meet at the reconstructed hangar
11:30-11:55 am The Science of the Wright Flight Join Dr. Tom Crouch of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and author of The Bishop Boys and First Flight, as he explores the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics the Wrights applied to show the world that humans can fly. Tent
12:00 – 12:25 pm Chat with a Naval Aviator From the pilots to the ground crews, Navy personnel are highly-skilled and trained, operating the best aircraft in the world and dedicated to protect and serve those at sea and on the ground. Learn about the history of Naval Aviation from the first aircraft to aviation today. Tent
1:00- 1:25 pm The Science of the Wright Flight See description above. Tent
1:30-1:55 pm Chat with a Naval Aviator See description above. Tent
2:00-2:25 pm The Wright Legacy See description above. Tent
2:30-2:55 pm Flying Paper Airplanes See description above. Reconstructed camp building
3:00-3:25 pm The Wright Legacy See description above. Tent
4:00-4:25 pm First Flight Tour See description above. Reconstructed camp building

For more information and the schedule for National Aviation Day, please visit The First Flight Society is a long-standing partner of the National Park Service. For more information, see

Last updated: August 4, 2017

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Wright Brothers National Memorial
1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954


252 473-2111

Contact Us