September 1, 2017 - Kitty Hawk

On our annual family vacation to the Outer Banks, North Carolina, I always go visit the birthplace of aviation:  Kitty Hawk and the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

Imagine my surprise when we pulled up and I saw this!  The visitor's center is closed for renovation.

It's funny how things turn out.  I had imagined a short visit in the visitor's center and not walking around much.  In reality, we didn't go into the visitor's center and walked the entire grounds!
I had my son-in-law, Don, and two grandsons -- William and Griffin -- with me.
I never get tired of visiting here.
Ah, the place probably does need a little upgrade.
I must say, they really did do it right (no pun intended) in honoring the Wright Brothers accomplishment.
What they did truly was genius -- and an incredible work ethic.
I really like what they did here with a full-scale stainless steel replica of the Wright Flyer.  In fact, this entire sandy area is a full-scale diorama of the first 12- second flight, the one recorded in the famous photograph.  It even has statues of Wilbur and the ground crew in their exact positions.
The full-scale diorama was done by sculptor Stephen H. Smith, called "First Flight" and was unveiled during the 2003 Centennial celebration.  Coincidently, it was within days of the Centennial that I decided to embark on my airplane building effort which resulted in the RV-7 I have had so much fun with.

Unlike the original in the Smithsonian Air & Space museum, and all the replicas, you could get up close to really check the Flyer out.  Plus the kids loved climbing on it.

That's Orville Wright to the right.  He made the first 12 second flight.


A painting by the famous aviation artist Frank Wooton depicting the first flight from a different angle.

Notice the statue of the photographer John T. Daniels to the right.  He was so excited about what he had seen, he couldn't remember if he had taken a shot or not!  And of course, he had, in probably the most famous photograph ever taken.

Perfect for kids.  Not a big fall, on the forgiving sand.
Hard to imagine what it must have been like being the pilot on the first four flights.  Talk about making history.
Another successful visit to Kitty Hawk.  It's always good!  And it's fun for the whole family.