Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kitty Hawk NC

The Wright Brothers National Memorial, at Kitty Hawk NC, is the site of the first powered airplane flight in 1903. For a fan of aviation history, this is holy ground. Here are some photos from a visit.

Kill Devil Hill. In 1901 and 1902, the Wright brothers launched a series of unpowered gliders from this hill, to test out various methods of flight control.

The view from the top of Kill Devil Hill. They chose this spot for their experiments because it has steady winds, the sand allows for soft landings, and its isolation let them work in secret.

The monument at the top of the hill

Me, in front of the monument.

The cabin in which the Wright brothers lived during their flight experiments, and the hangar used to protect the 1903 Flyer from the weather.

Because the Flyer could not take off from sand, the brothers laid a wooden rail topped with metal.

Plaque marking the takeoff spot for the first powered flight.

Stone marker at the takeoff spot.

Stone marker at the endpoint of the first flight.

The distance covered by the first flight

The brothers made four flights on December 17, 1903. The first three, marked by white stones, clustered around 150 feet. The fourth and last flight, visible in the distance, covered over 800 feet.

As the brothers discussed whether to try a fifth flight, a gust of wind flipped the Flyer over and smashed it. This a broken piece from the engine crankcase.

A replica of the 1902 Glider, on display in the Visitors Center

A replica of the 1903 Flyer, on display in the Visitors Center.

Guided tour with park ranger

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