The history of flight and The Wright Brothers go hand in hand. Almost everyone knows who the famous flying brothers are and how much they contributed to the science of aviation. However, not everyone knows that the first flight took place right here on the Outer Banks! On December 17th, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made history with the first successful powered airplane flight.

Wright Bros. first flight, 1903 (Lynn Brooks)
The First Flight

The first flight actually took place in Kitty Hawk even though the park and the memorial are both located in Kill Devil Hills. Wilbur and Orville chose Kitty Hawk because the tall sand dunes and high winds would give them enough lift and all of the sand would allow a soft place to land. On the day of December 17th, 1903, 5 other people witnessed the first flight. Adam Etheridge, John T. Daniels, Will Dough, W.C. Brinkley, and Johnny Moore. John T. Daniels took the now-famous photo of the first flight. Statues of all 7 people on this historic day are actually at the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills!

Fast Facts About the Wright Brothers:

–  Orville Wright was the first brother to fly the glider because of a coin toss

– The Wright Flyer flew at 10:35 AM and was airborne for 12 seconds before landing

– The first flight spanned 120 feet

– After the first flight in 1903, the Wright Flyer was destroyed by a strong gust of wind

– Wilbur is the oldest of the two brothers

– John Daniels had never seen a camera before taking the photo of the first flight; in fact, he was so excited about what he was seeing he almost forgot to take the photo

Where the Wright Brothers slept and ate while doing their research and testing in Kitty Hawk
Busts on top of the Wright Brother’s Monument
Left: Bust of Orville || Right: Wright Brothers Monument
View from the top of the Wright Brothers Monument