Wright Brothers first flight in North Carolina

The National Park Service operates the National Memorial to the Wright Brothers located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, specifically the Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills area.

Hands-on life size sculpture of the plane

Almost everyone has heard of the first manned flight in a powered airplane. Any trip to the area of the Outer Banks should include a visit to this dramatic Memorial. We arrived late in the day, and thus did not have time to visit the Visitors Center. We did, however, enjoy the massive monument and the life sized reproduction of the original Wright flier and associated sculpture field.

Monument on the hill where the first flight occurred

The massive monument is on top of the large sand dune hill where the flights occurred. In the 1920’s the dune was seeded with grass to stabilize the hill in preparation for the construction of the monument.

Wilbur to the right: original photo

Statue of Wilbur running alongside the plane piloted by Orville






Originally from Ohio, the Wright brothers found that the sand dunes of the outer banks would be a perfect place for them to design the gliders and finally the engine powered airplane. Sand dunes provided a relatively safe place to test fly: sand is soft, protects the pilots and lessens potential damage to the aircraft.

The monument

Personnel from the local US Lifesaving Service offered help and on December 17, 1903 several were at the site of the flight.  At the memorial there is a marvelous sculpture field including a life sized reproduction of the plane as well as bronze sculptures of the men who were there at the time. This is a most impressive view that immediately takes you back to that famous December day in 1903.

Plan on visiting this marvelous piece of U.S. history. Here is the NPS website with details and some great information. Note: our National Parks Service Senior Pass saved us the entrance fees to the site. (Seniors 62 and older can get this pass here: NPS lifetime Senior Pass website)




17 thoughts on “Wright Brothers first flight in North Carolina

  1. Pingback: Wright Brothers first flight in North Carolina – Tonya LaLonde

  2. Great mini history lesson, always useful to know these things in a quiz night. I’ve of course heard of the Wright Brothers but had forgotten where their first flight was


  3. Pingback: Wright Brothers first flight in North Carolina | Daily Wise

  4. Thank you for providing a trip down memory lane for me. We went here in the 80’s. The first time I flew in an airplane was from the small airport near the Wright Brothers Monument for a tour. It was an amazing experience. I saw ship wrecks and a whale as we flew over the ocean.


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