December 10, 2011

They Took To the Air

One of our thoughts in leaving Virginia for the Outer Banks of North Carolina was that we would be heading into somewhat warmer weather.  Wrong!!  Although it was nice when we arrived late yesterday afternoon, today was cold!  The temperature wasn’t so bad, maybe in the 50s, but the wind was fierce.  And we thought the wind in Estes Park was bad.

It was mostly because of the wind that the Wright brothers came to the Outer Banks.  When Orville and Wilbur Wright arrived in 1900, Kill Devil Hills was considered to be the sixth windiest city in the United States.  We could attest to that fact today when we visited Wright Brothers National Memorial.  It was here that the brothers learned to fly, and the stretch of beach near Kill Devil Hills provided not only strong winds, but also high dunes, soft landings and isolation.

Wright Brothers National Memorial
After solving three critical problems – lift, thrust and control – the Wright brothers were ready to fly.  On December 17, 1903, Orville Wright successfully took to the air.  The brothers flew three more times that day, with the last flight reaching 852 feet in 59 seconds.  Man had achieved powered flight.  The national monument tells the story of the Wright brothers, and it was fun for a change to visit a park celebrating technology, not battles.

Reproduction of the Original 1903 Wright Flyer

Reproduction of the Original 1902 Wright Glider

Reconstructed 1903 Hangar and Quarters/Workshop

December 17, 1903 Sculpture by Stephen H. Smith Recreating the Event

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