1903 Wright Flyer and 1911 Wright Glider

The N.C. Museum of History is providing a temporary home for the reproduction 1903 Wright Flyer from the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center in Kill Devil Hills. The Outer Banks site is undergoing a rehabilitation project through summer of 2018. 

Prominently featured at the N.C. Museum of History, the 1903 Flyer creates an impressive sight for visitors entering the three-story lobby. The aircraft is suspended at a height of 12 feet, the same height of the Wright brothers’ first flight. On Dec. 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright successfully flew the first powered flight in Kill Devil Hills.

“The North Carolina Museum of History is honored to have been selected by the National Park Service to display its reproduction of the Wright brothers’ 1903 Flyer during the renovation of the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center,” says Ken Howard, Museum Director. “We hope that people will take advantage of this opportunity to see the Flyer while it is in this part of the state.” 

The 1903 Flyer joins a display in the museum lobby that includes a reproduction of the 1911 Wright glider that Orville Wright and British aviator Alexander Ogilvie flew at Kill Devil Hills. The object is based on the glider the men used from Oct. 16 to 26, 1911, to make nearly 100 test glides.  

“The National Park Service is very pleased to be partnering with the North Carolina Museum of History to loan the reproduction 1903 Wright Flyer during the rehabilitation of the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center,” says Jami P. Lanier, Cultural Resource Manager for the National Park Service Outer Banks Group, which includes Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial. “The Flyer was built by The Wright Experience, Inc. of Warrenton, Va., and donated by aviation pioneer Harry B. Combs to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in honor of the 2003 Centennial of Flight. We are happy that the 1903 Flyer will remain in the state of North Carolina during the rehabilitation project and that it will be on display for the public to enjoy.”     

Expanded Section on Wright Brothers in The Story of North Carolina

On Saturday, Dec. 17, the 113th anniversary of the first flight, the N.C. Museum of History added an expanded section on the Wright brothers in the exhibit The Story of North Carolina. Original artifacts on loan from the National Park Service. Visitors will see several airfoils the Wright brothers used in their wind tunnel experiments. In addition, the shovel that Orville Wright and William (Bill) Tate used in the ca. 1933 groundbreaking ceremony of the Wright Brothers National Memorial will be on view. Tate was a Kitty Hawk resident who helped Orville and Wilbur and became their lifelong friend. Historical photographs, a façade of the brothers’ shed at Kill Devil Hills, and the museum’s own reproduction 1903 Wright Flyer will further enhance the exhibit.