Hello Kitty Hawk

Christi at Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty HawkNo trip to the Outer Banks would be complete without a stop at the Wright Brothers National Memorial between Nags Head and Kitty Hawk. The famous aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville made aeronautical history here on Dec. 17, 1903, by launching the first manned, engine-powered flights in history. The first flight that day made it only 120 feet and lasted all of 12 seconds. By the end of the day, their fourth attempt went 852 feet and lasted 59 seconds. Of course, this was after years of research and experimentation.

Christi at Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty HawkThe brothers parlayed proceeds and mechanical know-how from their bicycle business in Dayton, Ohio, into improving upon what had theretofore been only manned glider flights without the benefit of an engine to keep on flying. They chose Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, for its windy conditions, soft sand upon which to land (or crash, if you’re the glass-half-empty sort), and relative isolation for the purposes of safety and secrecy.

Hector at Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty HawkIn addition to the replica glider and flyer on display, we enjoyed reading about the Wright Brothers, the technical aspects of their aircraft, and the principles of flight inside the Visitor Center before heading outside.

Christi at Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty HawkOn the grounds, markers identify their fllght path, lift-off point and landing points on the four flights that historic day. A 60-foot-tall granite monument erected in 1932 atop the Kill Devil Hill dune commemorates the location from which they practiced flying with hundreds of glider flights. The site also contains replicas of their hangar and combination workshop and living quarters, as well as life-size sculpture of the brothers, their first flyer and witnesses dedicated in 2003.

Hector at Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty HawkBeing ever so fond of travel and adventure ourselves (but without even a fraction of the Wright brothers’ mechanical aptitude, imagination or patience), we were delighted by this national memorial honoring the birthplace of aviation.

5 thoughts on “Hello Kitty Hawk

  1. Aunt Dolores

    We visited this place a few years ago, everything looked familiar..
    I have some pictures similar to yours. I remember it was windy when we were there also.

  2. Maxine

    Amazing to see and walk the area where aeronautical history was made. Thanks for all the information. Onward!

    1. Christi Post author

      It really has been a treat to step on the same ground as people who’ve made a difference in the world!

  3. Bob Rink

    Kitty Hawk is amazing, is it not? Keep churning out the journal. France and I did a very similar trip for 2 1/2 months Az to Maine to Florida and back, right after I retired 10 years ago. Spent an afternoon and a morning at the flight site.

    1. Christi Post author

      Wow, has it been 10 years already since you retired? You’re probably one of the best sources for travel info. We thought of you when we were in the Smokies and went on a brief stretch of the Appalachian Trail. We hope to do a little more here and there on the AT as we continue here on our journeys in the East.

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