Wright Brothers

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.

    

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.

A picture of the Wright Borthers plane
Smoithsonian National Air and Space Museum

It's been 110 years this week since the Wright Brothers successfully got their heavier-than-air flying machine off the ground. The "aero-plane" had a number of really cool inventions.

The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum has built a 3D model where you can explore the plane from every angle. Writer Peter Jakab details what made the plane take off. Here's some highlights:

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.