A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

First in Flight

As we were driving along the coastline of South Carolina I noticed the license plate of the car in front of us - North Carolina  First in Flight.  I read a lot of license plates while driving. It was then I thought of going to Kittyhawk North Carolina where the Wright Brothers first flew a self-propelled airplane.

Well the event really took place in the nearby Kill Devil Hills.  Today the National Park Service has established a very well done memorial for this outstanding accomplishment.  In my opinion, what Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved with little known knowledge in the principles of flight at the time and their limited available technology, far outshines what all the people involved did in putting a man on the moon sixty some years later.

These are the hills and it was here in the three years of 1900 -1902 the brothers conducted hundreds of glider flights just in order to learn the mechanics of flight itself and solve the many problems they faced.  They chose this place because of the reliable 16 plus mph winds needed to sustain lift.
The day we were there the winds didn't disappoint and rain was an added bonus.

I only got this picture for the monument was blocking the winds.

The view down to where the Little House on the Highway was parked.  Sinbad is asleep inside.

 Back down on the flat is where the first powered flight took place in 1903.

The plane road along the monorail track then lifted off at where the big boulder marks the spot.
In the distance you can see the various points of flight marked by more granite boulders.

Why did Orville fly the first flight?  Well Wilbur really did for he won the coin toss.  But he lost his chance to be the first in flight when he oversteered with the elevator and the Flyer climbed too steeply, stalled and dove into the sand.  Repairs were made and it was then Orville's turn.

Wilbur was next.  It was so miserable that this bird took shelter from the wind on the boulder.

Then Orville, each time increasing their distance and speed.

Flight number 4, flown by Wilbur is way off in the distance at 852 feet for 59 seconds.  But the Flyer would not fly again.  After the last flight a gust of wind rolled it over and the plane was damaged beyond an easy repair.  No, I didn't walk down there to boulder number 4.  Any other day I would have but not that day.  I was cold and had had enough.

Tomorrow, a  pretty neat sculpture commemorating the brother's achievement.


  1. Thats a very nice and informational monument to honor the inventors of flight. Thanks for showing John.

  2. Fascinating that the flight lasted only 12 seconds. Still, it is an amazing feat!

  3. i like that they took turns! :)

  4. A great place to visit. poor little bird. poor you too.

  5. A great place to visit. poor little bird. poor you too.

  6. A great place to visit. poor little bird. poor you too.

  7. And, 'most importantly', the Wright brothers were cyclists, right? :)
    Peace :)

  8. That is interesting to be at such a historic place. Those guys were brave to make all these attemps.

  9. Nice shots. That would be such a great place to visit. I'm jealous.

  10. This reminds me...have you been to the National Museum of the USAF near Dayton? We have been two different times and really enjoyed it...


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