I was most looking forward to visiting the Wright Brothers Memorial. Today we take flying in planes for granted, but if you really stop and think about what these brothers from Ohio invented, it has to be one of the greatest inventions ever. They weren’t endowed with government money like Samuel Pierpont Langley who was an astronomer and secretary to the Smithsonian. They were inventors and engineers who tinkered with bikes. Mostly they figured out how to maintain control in the air using three-axis control. Combined with enough velocity and an aerodynamic plane, they took flight.
On December 17, 1903, Orville Wright piloted the first powered airplane 20 feet above a wind-swept beach in North Carolina. The flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. Three more flights were made that day with Orville’s brother Wilbur piloting the record flight lasting 59 seconds over a distance of 852 feet. The brothers began their experimentation in flight in 1896 at their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio. They selected the beach at Kitty Hawk as their proving ground because of the constant wind that added lift to their craft. In 1902 they came to the beach with their glider and made more than 700 successful flights.
Atop the hill where they first took off is the monument. From there you can see they chose a good spot. A good head start on gravity, windy, and a great view of the ocean.