Photo of Orville Wright making the first powered flight on Dec. 17, 1903.
Dec. 17, 1903: Orville Wright takes off on the first successful powered flight. (Photo: Library of Congress)

Advisory-First Flight Anniversary events for 2015

In NAHA News, NAHA News Release /

National Aviation Heritage Area
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015

Timothy R. Gaffney
Director of Communications
(937) 475-7627 (mobile)

Media advisory: NAHA, partners schedule First Flight Anniversary events

DAYTON, Ohio—The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) and its partners will celebrate the 112th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first powered flights with a series of events in the Dayton area on Dec. 17, 2015.

Between 10 and 11 a.m., NAHA officials and Ohio Rep. Rick Perales will join officials from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park on Wright Memorial Hill for the annual commemoration.

Rep. Perales, R-Beavercreek, will present House Concurrent Resolution 8, sponsored by him and passed by both chambers of the Ohio legislature, repudiating Connecticut for claiming the Wright brothers were not the first to fly a powered, heavier-than-air machine. NAHA supported the resolution.

NAHA officials will announce the winner of the fourth annual Mitch Cary-Don Gum Memorial Aviation Scholarship, an award of $1,500 toward a pilot’s license.

Greg Herrick, owner of the Golden Wings Flying Museum in Blaine, Minn., and a nationally recognized restorer of rare aircraft, will be guest speaker.

At 10:35 a.m., the exact moment of Orville Wright’s first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., pilots from MACAIR Aviation at Greene County-Lewis A. Jackson Airport will fly over the ceremony in a four-airplane formation, weather permitting.

At 2 p.m., NAHA will open the unrestored Wright Company Factory—America’s first airplane factory—for the final monthly tour of the season. The factory gate is located on the south side of West Third Street just east of Abbey Avenue. The tour is free and requires no registration, but visitors must wear closed-toe shoes and sign a hold-harmless agreement. The buildings are unheated.

At 6:30 p.m., Herrick will speak about “Saving Airplanes and Telling their Stories” as keynote speaker at Aviation Trail Inc.’s annual First Flight Anniversary event, scheduled this year at Dayton History’s Carillon Historical Park. Herrick’s museum includes approximately 30 restored rare aircraft, including the first airplane owned by the National Park Service, a 1927 Fairchild FC-2W-2.

About the Wright brothers
Wilbur and Orville Wright lived in Dayton, Ohio and built their gliders and first powered airplanes in their bicycle shop in West Dayton. On Dec. 17, 1903, Orville made the first flight of their powered flyer, taking off from a track and flying forward against the wind, covering 120 feet in 12 seconds. The brothers made two flights each that day. The fourth and final flight, by Wilbur, covered 852 feet in 59 seconds.

After those flights, the Wright brothers continued their flight experiments on Huffman Prairie in Greene County. The Huffman Prairie Flying Field is now on a publicly accessible part of Wright-Patterson, a unit of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, and one of many historic aviation sites in the National Aviation Heritage Area. The Wright Memorial overlooks Huffman Prairie.

Wilbur and Orville patented their invention in 1906, demonstrated it to the world in 1908 and formed the Wright Company to manufacture airplanes in 1909. They built America’s first airplane factory in 1910, adding a second building in 1911. The Wright Company factory is the last unrestored Wright building in Dayton and the only buildings still standing in Dayton where Wright airplanes were made.

About NAHA
The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) is a private, not-for-profit corporation designated by Congress as the management entity of the National Aviation Heritage Area. NAHA’s vision is for the Heritage Area to be the recognized center of aviation heritage tourism and aerospace innovation, sustaining the legacy of the Wright Brothers. The National Aviation Heritage Area is one of 49 National Heritage Areas in a program administered by the National Park Service. It encompasses eight Ohio counties—Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Clark, Warren, Champaign, Shelby and Auglaize. Visit to learn more about NAHA.