While Orville and Wilbur Wright completed the first successful heavier-than-air powered flight on the sands of Kitty Hawk on Dec. 17, 1903, their journey began years before in their home state of Ohio.
Three nonprofit organizations that celebrate aviation history joined together to celebrate the 118th anniversary of the first flight and launched Monday WrightRoute.org, an online resource connecting the legacy of aviation of North Carolina, “First in Flight,” and Ohio, the “Birthplace of Aviation.”
Outer Banks Forever, the official partner for national parks on the Outer Banks, National Aviation Heritage Area and First Flight Society have been working with the National Park Service at Wright Brothers National Memorial and Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park to link the Wright brothers’ stories from North Carolina, Ohio and the states in between through virtual and in-person learning experiences.
“Our national parks and nonprofit organizations have been friends for many years, and we enjoy working together to tell the inspiring and important stories of how aviation has changed our world,” said Jessica Barnes, Director of Outer Banks Forever, in a statement. “Our co-produced virtual event and the Wright Route invite everyone to learn about the Wright brothers’ quest for powered flight in new ways.”
Outer Banks Forever and National Aviation Heritage Area will jointly livestream ceremonies on Facebook the First Flight Society’s celebration at the Wright Brothers National Memorial at 9 a.m. and Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park at 10 a.m., both Friday, on their Facebook pages.
WrightRoute.org was designed to show a more complete picture of the Wright brothers’ lives and work and encourages aviation enthusiasts to travel between North Carolina and Ohio to explore the Wright brothers’ legacy in a new way, officials said.
Major stops along the Wright Route are Dayton and Cincinnati, both in Ohio, Norfolk, Virginia, and Elizabeth City, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills. Many of the activities are inspired by the Wright brothers such as biking, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, photography and more.
“Not only can you experience two ultimate aviation heritage tourism destinations on the Wright Route, but you can also discover the towns where the Wright brothers ate, rested and shopped for supplies,” said Mackensie Wittmer, executive director of the National Aviation Heritage Area. “We are proud to combine our messaging for greater economic impact in Dayton, Kitty Hawk and all the towns in between.”
The Wright Route also offers recommendations for museums and historical sites to visit as well as family-friendly experiences and excursions to have as part of the journey through the Wright brothers’ story.
“We are thrilled to partner with these two terrific organizations,” said Mike Fonseca, President of the First Flight Society. “It’s vitally important to share the full story of the Wright brothers, from their childhood and early experiments in Dayton to their successful flights in Kitty Hawk and beyond.”
Wright Route is neither associated with, sponsored by nor maintained by a travel agency or a tourism bureau. It is a free online resource for educational purposes.