On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first two flights in their homemade aircraft on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Today the National Park Service hosts a celebration at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. At 10:35 a.m., there will be a military fly-over, with aircraft significantly more sophisticated than the Wright brothers’. But this is where it all began, on those windy dunes on the Carolina coast.
On the 100th anniversary of the first flight, we published a history of early flight attempts–starting with air ballooning adventures of the 18th century. Endorsed by the First Flight Centennial Commission, First to Fly: North Carolina and the Beginnings of Aviation, by Thomas C. Parramore, recounts North Carolina’s role in aviation history, including Outer Bankers’ contributions to the Wright brothers’ success.