Saturday, 08/02/03

This year being the 100th birthday of the historic first airplane flight by the Wright Brothers, and me being an aerospace engineer and a (no longer current) private pilot, of course I went to search for the Wright Brothers National Memorial. I took NC 12 and US 158 north to Kitty Hawk, but found nothing. So I went to the local visitor center and then back south to Kill Devil Hills.

Sustained, controlled flight is probably the greatest achievement of mankind, and certainly the one searched the longest, the hardest, and the most frustratingly for. What the Wright brothers did seemed almost impossible: all three of the essential technologies needed to create a plane, (aerodynamics, light engine technology, and aircraft control,) were in absolutely no shape to be able to produce an airplane, but with exceptional perseverance, the Wright brothers fixed up all these fields.

It must have been a stunning realization at the time that people could indeed really fly, despite many centuries (or millenia) of unceasing failures, and many deaths.

From the Wright Memorial, I went back up 158, NC 343 (not intended, but quite scenic), US 17, then 13 across Chesapeake Bay bridges and (two) tunnels. I stopped at the Best Value Inn in Onley.

Pictures (click for larger size):