On December 17, 1903, at Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright first took to the air. To commemorate their achievement 100 years later, a Centennial of Flight celebration was held at the same location.


Up to 30, 000 people each day attended the festivities leading up to the centennial itself. Due to the fact that it was winter on the Atlantic coast, the weather was a major factor. The Wright Brothers could choose the exact day and time for their flight, based on what they saw in front of them. To celebrate an exact moment in time, 100 years later, we did not have the same luxury.


The weather on some days of the celebration was perfect and on others, horrendous. The worst day of weather was on the Centennial itself, but the attempt was still made to recreate the historic flight. The temperature was too warm and the winds almost nonexistent, yet the Wright Flyer clattered down the launch rail. Only rising a few inches and being airborne for a second, it was nonetheless an exciting event of which to be a part. Click the link at right to read a full article about the event.

Crowds gather around the Wright 1903 Flyer reproduction after rollout for an engine test.


"The Wings of Kitty Hawk"

Under perfect skies, F-15 Eagle fighters fly by the Wright Brothers Memorial on December 15, 2003.

The Wright Flyer is moved out of the hangar. The man in the dark blue jacket and gray ballcap with his back to the camera is X-15 pilot Scott Crossfield.

A musical group performs on the main stage.

The first attempt to reproduce the Wright Brothers' flight occurred at 12:29:30 EST on Wednesday, December 17, 2003. The photos show the horrible conditions at the time of the attempt. The Flyer was made to fly with a minimum of wind and hardly any was present the day of the centennial.

A second attempt was made a couple hours later. The engines were brought to life, but the winds died completely and the run down the launch rail never happened. A valiant effort under harsh conditions.

Wright Experience cofounder Ken Hyde with pilot Kevin Kochersberger and alternate pilot Terry Queijo hold a press conference soon after the flight attempts.