Wright Brothers National Memorial

The Wright Brothers National Memorial, located in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, commemorates the first successful, sustained, powered flights in a heavier-than-air machine. From 1900 to 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright traveled to Kill Devil Hills from Dayton, Ohio, after studying the area's steady winds. They also valued the privacy and remoteness of the site, away from onlookers and journalists.

The Wrights made four flights from level ground near the base of the hill on December 17, 1903, following three years of gliding experiments from atop this and other nearby sand dunes. It is possible to walk along the actual routes of the four flights, with small monuments (see photos below) marking their starts and finishes. Two wooden sheds, based on historic photographs, recreate the world's first airplane hangar and the brothers' living quarters.

An interactive sculpture (see series of photos below) was donated by the State of North Carolina in 2003 and dedicated during the Centennial Celebration. The life sized sculpture, created by Stephen H. Smith, is a full-sized replica of 1903 flyer the moment the flight began and includes the Wright Brothers along with members of the Kill Devils Hills Life-Saving Station who assisted in moving the aircraft, as well as John T. Daniels who took the now famous photograph of the first flight.

The memorial is administered by the National Park Service.

Photographs of the Wright Brothers Memorial by Planes Of The Past

Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitors Center, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
The Visitor Center is home to a museum featuring models and actual tools and machines used by the Wright brothers during their flight experiments including a reproduction of the wind tunnel used to test wing shapes and a portion of the engine used in the first flight. In one wing of the Visitor Center is a life-size replica of the Wright brothers' 1903 Flyer, the first powered aircraft in history to achieve controlled flight.
Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitors Center, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

 

 

Wright Brothers "Field for Flight", with monument in the distance, and rebuilt hangars to the right
Wright Brothers "Field for Flight", with monument in the distance, and rebuilt hangars to the right
Markers showing the length of the first three flights, at the Wright Brothers National Memorial
Markers showing the length of the first three flights, at the Wright Brothers National Memorial
Monument to Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright
This 60-foot granite monument, dedicated in 1932, is perched atop 90-foot-tall (27 m) Kill Devil Hill, commemorating the achievement of the Wright brothers.
Monument to Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright
Wright Brothers first flight life-sized sculpture by Stephen H. Smith
Wright Brothers first flight life-sized sculpture by Stephen H. Smith
Go for flight! ... Wright Brothers first flight life-sized sculpture by Stephen H. Smith
Go for flight! ... Wright Brothers first flight life-sized sculpture by Stephen H. Smith
In the "cockpit" ... Wright Brothers first flight life-sized sculpture by Stephen H. Smith
In the "cockpit" ... Wright Brothers first flight life-sized sculpture by Stephen H. Smith
In the "cockpit" ... Wright Brothers first flight life-sized sculpture by Stephen H. Smith
In the "cockpit" ... Wright Brothers first flight life-sized sculpture by Stephen H. Smith
Camera man capturing the Wright Brothers first flight
Camera man capturing the Wright Brothers first flight


Interactive Map of the Kill Devil Hills Area


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