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Contact: Wright Brothers National Mem, (252) 441-7430
In May of 1908, nearly 100 years ago on soil far from Dayton, Ohio or the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Wilbur Wright captured the attention and admiration of Europeans, as crowds of French citizens witnessed the wonder of true powered flight. After their achievement of the first flight in 1903, and with little success in promoting their flying machine in their own country, the Wrights’ took their invention across the Atlantic to France in 1908. In May of that year, through a series of airplane flights such as had never been seen, the "Age of Flight," or perhaps more appropriately the "Age of Wright," was now a reality to the world. This year, in 2008, events celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Wilbur Wright’s first powered flights in Europe are now underway.
In 2005, a delegation from Coulaines, France visited the Outer Banks and Wright Brothers National Memorial to exchange ideas and resources for the preparation of the French centennial of flight. The Town of Kitty Hawk has even established partnership with Coulaines – becoming a sister city.
For many years city of Coulaines, France has hosted the Coulaines Kite Festival, and at this year’s festival on March 15 -16, 2008, kite enthusiasts from around the world will experience the art and fun of kite flying with a focus on the Wrights’ European achievements. To celebrate the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Wrights’ flights in France, Wright Brothers National Memorial and Coulaines have exchanged kites. With the Coulaines’ kite on its way across the Atlantic, Wright Brothers National Memorial plans to fly the Coulaines kite at the site of the world’s first powered flight on March 15-16, while the Wright Brothers National Memorial kite sent to Coulaines will fly at the Coulaines Kite Festival as a tribute to the Wrights’ great milestone in aviation history.
Adults and children alike are invited to join in the spirit of this French celebration by flying kites at Wright Brothers National Memorial on March 15 - 16. You are welcome to bring your own kite, or take part in the National Park Service kite building and flying program at 2 p.m. on both days. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and kite-friendly winds are almost always a guarantee.