10 Fun Facts About the Wright Brothers Flight on the Outer Banks

About the Wright Brothers Flight 
One of the iconic features of the Outer Banks is the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hiils. As many know, in 1903, the Wright Brothers flew their Wright Flyer on the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk and forever secured the Outer Banks spot in aviation’s history. Today thousands of visitors explore the Wright Brothers National Memorial during their Outer Banks beach vacation. Today we share with you 10 facts about the Wright Brothers which may surprise you.

Wright Brothers National Monument

No trip to the Outer Banks is complete without spending a little time exploring the Wright Brothers National Monument. Located in Kill Devil Hills this National Monument offers visitors the opportunity to explore informative exhibits and walk the grounds where their famous flight took place. Currently, the monument is undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation, but it is still well worth a visit. The newly renovated exhibits will be open in late summer or early fall of 2018.

10 Fun facts about the Wright Brothers.

1. Neither of the brothers had a high school diploma.

Wright Brother's Memorial
It's hard to believe, but true, that neither of the Wright brothers graduated from or had high school diplomas. Orville dropped out of high school before his senior year to start a printing business. Wilbour completed 4 years of high school however his family left Richmond propr to graduation and he never received his diploma.

2.The 1903 Wright Flyer only flew one day.

December 17, 1903, was the first and only day the first Wright Flyer took to the air. That fateful day the wind was gusting around 25 mph which the Wright Flyer needed to provide  lift. After the brothers had three successful flights, and while discussing the fourth flight, a gust of wind caught the Wright Flyer and flipped it end over end. The resulting damage to the rudder, ribs, motor and chain guides was catastrophic and the Wright Flyer was no longer airworthy. Immediately thereafter the plane was crated and shipped back to Dayton, Ohio, never to fly again.

3. Neil Armstrong took a piece of history to the moon.

When Neil Armstrong said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" after successfully landing on the moon, he was, in fact, carrying a piece of history with him. He carried a small piece of wood from the left propeller of the original 1903 Wright Flyer, and another small piece of muslin fabric from the left wing in his space suit. If only the Wright brothers could have lived to see July 13, 1969.

4. The brothers were self-taught.

Neither of the Wright brothers had formal engineering or aeronautical training. The brothers were completely self-taught. In 1899 Wilbour Wright wrote to the Smithsonian Institute asking for all literature about aeronautics. In his letter he made the statement, " He believed that human flight is possible and practical." During their planning and designing of the Wright Flyer, the brothers studied the discoveries of the German glider designer OttoLilienthal, as well as Chicago glider tests of engineer Octave Chanute. Finally, the brothers were influenced by Smithsonian secretary Samuel Langley, who did several tests with steam-powered wing models.

5. Why Kitty Hawk?

In 1902 when the Wright Brothers arrived in Kill Devil Hills, the area offered everything the Wright Brothers needed. It was a desolate private area which was perfect for the competitive brothers. Second, there was a steady wind which the Wright Flyer needed to fly and finally, the soft sands of Kitty Hawk were perfect for less than perfect landings.

6. Nobody believed them.Flight

When the Dayton Journal was informed of the brother's flight they believed it was insignificant and ignored the story. Originally, the Virginia Pilot picked up the story and printed an inaccurate and mistake-ridden article that was picked up around the world. Months later the Daytona Journal wrote an accurate and official press release of the brother's accomplishments.

7. A promise to dad

The Wright Brothers father made the boys promise never to fly together because of the danger associated with their experiment. However, in May of 1910, their father made an exception and the brothers made one flight together. After the successful flight, together the father went on one flight. Even dad couldn't avoid the excitement.

8. It all came down to a coin toss.

As with so many things in history, it all came down to chance and a coin toss to see who would be the first to attempt the powered flight in the Wright Flyer. On December 14, 1903, the brothers tossed a coin. Wilbour won the toss and made the first attempted flight however, he quickly crashed the Wright Flyer causing minor damage. Three days later at 10:35 AM local time, Orville climbed into the Wright Flyer and made the first successful flight lasting 12 seconds and traveling 120 feet. The brothers then alternated attempts until the plane was damaged by a gust of wind.

9. Amazing what a $1,000 dollar can get you.

It is hard to believe, but the Wright Flyer was built in six months at a cost of approximately $1,000 dollars. In today's dollars that would be equivalent to roughly $28,000 dollars in 2018.

10. First flight related death.

Orville was the pilot of the first powered flight related death. In 1908 while demonstrating the Wright Military Flyer, a two-passenger version of the Wright Flyer designed for military use, the plane's propeller disintegrated causing it to crash at full-speed. Because of the crash, Army Signal Corps Lt. Thomas Selfridge died from injuries sustained in the crash.

We hope you enjoyed these fun facts about the Wright Brothers, and hope you take some time during your Outer Banks beach vacation to visit the Wright Brothers National Monument and learn even more about these amazing brothers and their lasting contribution to aviation and the Outer Banks. There is still time to book your summer vacation but booking are filling up fast.

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