Celebrate at 9 a.m. Dec. 17 the 120th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first heavier-than-air, controlled, powered flight with Wright Brothers National Memorial, the First Flight Society and Outer Banks Forever.
Entrance fees for the national memorial are waived for the day.
The anniversary celebration will feature National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac, First Flight Society President Mike Fonseca,
Wright Brothers National Memorial Lead Interpretive Ranger David True, and C.K. Lee, president of American Bonanza Society, an organization for Beechcraft owners and enthusiasts.
This year, the First Flight Society will induct Walter Beech, 1891-1950, a military pilot during World War I, who later became one of the early leaders of the growing airplane industry. Walter and his wife, Olive Ann, 1903-1993, founded the Beech Aircraft Co. in 1932 and created a legacy of aircraft known for safety and dependability, organizers said.
Olive Ann Beech, often called the “First Lady of Aviation,” was the first woman to lead a major aircraft company and was responsible for Beech Aircraft becoming one of the most successful airplane companies in the world.
As a special part of the celebration, classic Beech aircraft will be on display.
Immediately following the speeches, a special portrait of the Beeches will be unveiled. The portrait will be available to view in the Wright Brothers National Memorial visitor center until next year’s anniversary event.
A wreath laying ceremony by descendants of the witnesses of the first flight is scheduled for after the unveiling of the portrait of Walter and Olive Ann Beech.
Outer Banks Forever plans to livestream the entire event for those who cannot attend the event on Dec. 17.
Ranger-led educational programs are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Visitors are invited to attend these free programs and participate in the park’s free Junior Ranger program. The park will remain open until 5 p.m.