Image of Katharine Wright sitting beside Wilbur before her first flight in 1909.
Courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University

The state of North Carolina has many claims to fame, but there is likely none more popular or controversial than the slogan on the state license plate: “First In Flight.” The phrase commemorates the spectacular achievement of brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright who piloted their first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903.



There is a major push to bring a second Trans-Atlantic flight to Raleigh Durham International Airport.  The Airport Authority wants it, the business community wants it, and so do travelers.

But don’t hold your breath.  Luring international flight service to RDU can be just as hard as trying to convince a major corporation to move here.

The Memphis Belle is one of 10 B-17s still flying in the U.S.
Eric Mennel / WUNC

The Memphis Belle, one of the last remaining B-17 planes from World War II, is making a stop this weekend in the Triangle.  The bomber was made famous in the movie, The Memphis Belle.  The United States built more than 12,000 B-17s beginning in the 1940s.  There are only 10 left that can still fly. [Click on the photo gallery above to look inside the plane.]

Today is National Aviation Day, the date chosen in part because it’s the birthday of Orville Wright, who flew the very first airplane in 1903, with his brother Wilbur Wright.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong carried at piece of wood and some fabric from the Wright brothers’ 1903 flyer to the moon, connecting the first airplane flight to space exploration.

Construction of a new aviation manufacturing facility is underway in Asheville. GE Aviation broke ground on a $ 124 million plant this week. The site will produce CMC's (ceramic matrix composite) materials, for jet engines. The CMCs replace metal and make for a more efficient engine with better combustion and less emissions.  "This material has been in development, at least in our research labs for almost years.. It's used in small scale production in rocket loaders.

A plane lands at Piedmont Triad International Airport.
redlegs21 via Flickr, Creative Commons

Greensboro based TIMCO Aviation is being sold to Hong Kong company for 388 million dollars. TIMCO is one of the nation’s largest MROs (maintenance, repair, and overhaul). It provides service to commercial and military aircraft and has government contracts. The hedge fund that owns TIMCO agreed this week to sell the company to HAECO for $388 million. The deal will create one of the largest MROs in the world.

Currituck Aviation Center
College of The Albemarle

State dignitaries are in northeastern North Carolina this morning for the official opening of the new Regional Aviation and Technical Training Center in Currituck County.

Currituck County has been waiting a long time for this Aviation and Technical Training Center and it took a lot of money to make it happen - $7.1 million.

Hannah Wade takes control of the FAA-approved flight simulator at the Aviation Academy in High Point.
Jeff Tiberii

Across the state thousands of high school students will graduate this weekend. About three dozen are from the Aviation Academy at T.W. Andrews High School in Guilford County. It’s one of only a few such programs in the state preparing young men and women for careers in aeronautics and engineering. And after two classes of students, the program’s graduate rate is perfect. 


The Christmas and New Year holiday travel season means big business for the nation’s airports.  A report by N-C State and the Institute for Transportation Research and Education shows just how big aviation is in this state. 

Wilbur and Orville Wright launched their first successful powered flight 109 years ago today on the Outer Banks. A series of events at the Wright Brothers National Memorial this morning honor the anniversary. Fly-overs by Marine jets and Coast Guard planes and helicopters and a wreath laying ceremony will be part of the activities. Joshua Boles is a park ranger at the Memorial. He says the weather was a challenge for those manning that first flight.

Officials in Currituck County announced today they are building a Regional Aviation and Technical Training Center. The area is surrounded by several aviation-type businesses and the U-S Coast Guard in Elizabeth City.  Dan Scanlon is the Currituck County Manager.  He says this is a great opportunity for northeastern North Carolina.