Good morning from a sunny and warm Outer Banks! Today is a special day on the Outer Banks, and for us here at Outer Banks Blue as we celebrate the 115th anniversary of man’s first powered flight at the Wright Brother’s Memorial in Kill Devil Hills.
The annual celebration takes place each December 17th, the day that the Wright brothers flew their motorized aircraft for the first time in front of a handful of witnesses. The official first flight took place at 10:35 AM and is immortalized in this priceless photo.
The Wright Brothers were actually accomplished amateur photographers, and so they set the camera up and when they rallied the nearby U.S. Lifesaving Station staff to come over and help in their attempt at flight. Wilbur handed John Daniels a bulb and said “if anything happens squeeze this.” Well something happened, John squeezed the bulb at the exact moment that the motorized glider took flight, and this is now an iconic photo.
The first flight lasted only seconds, and covered approximately 120 feet, but the accomplishment of getting a heavier than air motorized vehicle in the air was done at that moment and it would revolutionize how we travel from that point forward.
Did you know that one of the reasons the Wright Brothers chose the Outer Banks was that this is one of the windiest spots in the country. Our average daily wind speed is nearly 13 miles per hour. In the winter when temperatures dive below 40 degrees and the wind is up, is is a very cold place to be. It is hard to imagine how difficult the conditions were in 1903 for the 2 fly boys from Ohio.
They lived in little more than what can be considered a shanty on the open dunes. They had a wood burning stove, and lots of canned goods to eat, but they had little more than that. Just a dream and the friendship of the locals who must have thought those guys were just full of crazy.
The story of the first flight will be told again this morning on this beautiful day, dignitaries will be on hand to celebrate the accomplishment, high school bands will perform, and exactly at 10:35 AM a ceremonial fly over will take place to honor the brother’s achievement.
This year will be even more special as recently a 5 year renovation of the Wright Brother’s visitors center was completed, and the exhibits were all modernized.
It will be a good day to be an outer banker today.
All the best from the beach!