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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    First Successful Flight of an Airplane Monument, Kill Devil Hills

  • Type

    Sculpture

  • Subjects

    Historic Cultural Figures

  • City

    Kill Devil Hills

  • County

    Dare

  • Description

    A six foot four inch high granite marker carved to resemble a boulder displays a bronze tablet.

  • Inscription

    THE FIRST SUCCESSFUL FLIGHT OF AN AIRPLANE WAS MADE FROM THIS SPOT BY ORVILLE WRIGHT DECEMBER 17, 1903 IN A MACHINE DESIGNED AND BUILT BY WILBUR AND ORVILLE WRIGHT.

  • Custodian

    National Park Service

  • Dedication Date

    December 17, 1928

  • Decade

    1920s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    36.019970 , -75.668760 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Wright Brothers Image Gallery," Wright Brothers National Memorial, (accessed June 25, 2012) Link

      Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the First Airplane Flight, 70th Cong., 2nd sess., 1921. H. Doc 520, (accessed June 29, 2011) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Granite marker, bronze plaque

  • Sponsors

    Kill Devil Hills Memorial Association

  • Monument Cost

    $2500

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    Friends and family of the Wrights, 200 delegates from the International Civil Aeronautics Conference, and over 3,000 visitors dedicated this marker at the approximate site of the 1903 liftoff. The ceremony also included the laying of the cornerstone atop Kill Devil Hill for the Wright Memorial.

  • Nickname

    The First Successful Flight of an Airplane

  • Subject Notes

    Orville Wright made the first flight in an airplane on December 17, 1903.

  • Controversies

    The exact location of the first flight was debated because the dunes had shifted over time. Using accounts of the flight and surviving witnesses the location was determined. The title of first in flight has been contested by other individuals, particularly Glenn Curtiss in the United States, as well as Alberto Santos-Dumont in France.

  • Location

    The monument is located from the intersection of Croatan Highway and Prospect Avenue atop Kill Devil Hill. Busts of Wilbur and Orville Wright flank the monument. It is located north of the Wright Brothers Monument.

  • Landscape

    The monument is located in the Wright Brothers National Memorial Park. In 1960 a visitors center and parking lot were built east of the marker.

  • Post Dedication Use

    On December 17, 2003, the centennial of the first flight, a ceremony was hosted by John Travolta and attended by President George W. Bush, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin.

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