Learn about the Wright Brothers, who introduced flying to the world, and how the Wright Flyer airplane was flown in Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903.
A Brief History of the Wright Brothers
On Outer Banks vacations, you can learn about the history of the Wright Brothers. The Wright Brothers were from Dayton, Ohio. They built a printing press, and they were the owners of a bicycle repair shop. As they constructed and repaired bicycles, they also worked on the invention of a machine for flying. The bicycle shop helped them support the early funding of their invention, which allowed them to dedicate time to learning about aviation and other experiments by inventors. They educated themselves about aerodynamics, the materials needed for the body of the airplane, and how to create the wing. They gained an interest in human flight and aimed to start their own flying experiments.
In 1899, the brothers constructed a biplane kite and began testing its controls. The Wright Brothers then gained information on where to conduct their flight tests and developed connections with others in the aeronautic industry. In 1900, the brothers started their experiments in Kitty Hawk. The biplane kite was flown as a kite and as a glider that could carry a person. They continued to come to Kitty Hawk as they developed their invention and conducted additional tests and worked on other projects, such as building a wind tunnel.
In October and November of 1903, the Wright Brothers constructed the 1903 flying machine and added the engine. They then travelled back to Dayton for repairs. When the Wright Brothers returned to Kitty Hawk in December, they enjoyed their first successful flight on the 17th. On May 14, 1908, the Wright Brothers made the first passenger flight with Charles Furnas on board.
The Wright Brothers National Memorial Exhibits and Programs
The Wright Brothers National Memorial is one of the essential historical sites to visit while you are on Outer Banks vacations. Come to the visitor’s center and view a complete reproduction of the 1903 flying machine as well as a reproduction of the first wind tunnel that they created.
The Wright Brothers National Memorial also has various educational activities for the whole family. One activity for kids is the "Kite Flight." In this activity, kids are shown how a kite is constructed and then given an opportunity to fly kites that they make themselves. Other special events include Flight Room Talks and the Boulder Talk. The Centennial Pavilion consists of more exhibits as well as educational movies and programs.
The Living Quarters and Hangar are close to the visitor center. These buildings have been reconstructed at the original locations. The Flight Line is another interesting place where you can learn about the Wright Brothers’ flight paths.
The Wright Brothers National Memorial is open every day throughout the year, and the visitor center and the Centennial Pavilion are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except for December 25. For more information on the Wright Brothers National Memorial and additional educational sites to visit while on Outer Banks vacations, call Elan Vacations at 252-491-8787.