Wright Brothers National Memorial To Honor 112th First Flight Anniversary
On Thursday, December 17, 2015, the First Flight Society and the National Park Service (NPS) will continue the tradition of honoring the accomplishments of Wilbur and Orville Wright at the 112st anniversary celebration of the first heavier-than-air, controlled, powered flight. The event takes place at the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center and Park entrance fees will be waived for the day.
Scheduled events for the day include:
- 8:30 a.m. – The observance begins with a patriotic musical prelude by the Northeastern High School Band from Elizabeth City, NC.
- 9:00 a.m. – The formal program will commemorate the Wrights’ achievement. Mike Smith, President of the First Flight Society, will open the program and NPS Superintendent David Hallac will welcome guests. The keynote speaker will be Douglas Kridler, President and CEO of the Columbus Foundation. Dr. Tom Crouch, Senior Curator of Aeronautics with the Smithsonian Institution will pay tribute to Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world, this year’s inductee into the First Flight Society’s Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine.
- 10:35 a.m. – An aviation flyover will pay tribute to the Wright brothers at the documented exact moment of the Wrights’ first flight.
- 11:00 a.m. – Darrell Collins, NPS Historian, presides over the wreath-laying ceremony to honor the Wright brothers and the witnesses of the first flight at the exact spot where the famous first flight occurred.
A Cessna 180, painted and refurbished to exactly replicate Jerrie Mock’s plane, the “Spirit of Columbus,” will be on display. The plane is being flown in for the celebration by its owner, Dick Merrill.
Throughout the day, the park’s museum exhibits and activities provide an atmosphere of enjoyable learning about one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. The visitor center opens at 9:00 a.m. The 25-minute interpretive talks take place in the Flight Room Auditorium at 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. Children are invited to participate in the park’s Junior Ranger program.