A Visit to Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

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On June 3rd, 2016 I visited the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. While history talks about Kitty Hawk, the actual flights were south of Kitty Hawk at Kill Devil Hills as seen on the map below. The National Park Service website is at https://www.nps.gov/wrbr/index.htm.img_1434

The Entrance Fee for the park is only $7 for an adult and is well worth the cost. At this memorial you are able to actually walk the path that the Wright Brothers flew over in the four first flights, as well as walking up the hill which they used for glider test flights before the actual manned flight events. The park includes a Visitor Centre with exhibits and Park Service Rangers give periodic talks and tours. Note that the Visiter Centre will be closed for renovations from November 2017 to late summer/fall 2018.

Below are a series of photos which I took during my visit. The first photo, taken from the top of Kill Devil Hill, shows the Visiter Centre and parking lot to the right and the flight path (which you can walk) which begins just to the left of the two wooden buildings and angles right towards the Atlantic Ocean.

Inside the Visiter Centre is a replica of the Wright Brothers plane …

When you leave the Visiter Centre you walk along the path (past the two wooden replica buildings) to where the historic first flights were undertaken. Along the path are information boards including the ones shown below …

Once you reach the flight path there are a series of monuments which indicate where the flights started/ended, the time of each flight and the distance.

As I walked along the flight path to each monument it was hard to imagine how the Wright Brothers must have felt on that day in December 1903. Today we take air travel for granted, then a flight of 59 seconds (852 feet) was a monumental achievement. I wonder if they realized at the time how the world would change due to air travel.

The photo below was taken from the last monument looking back towards the flight origin.

After walking back to the point of origin I then walked up to Kill Devil Hill (where the monument shows in the centre of the photo. The photo below was taken just past the point of the flight origins.

Along the way there was another information board which explained what role Kill Devil Hill (then just a large sand dune) played in this historic event.

The final photos show the monument and a couple of views taken from the monument.

If you are ever in this area of North Carolina take the time to visit this memorial … the ocean views along the route are spectacular but, at times the sense of history is even more overwhelming. A National Park well worth visiting.

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