Kill Devil Hills Things to Do Tips by grandmaR Top 5 Page for this destination
Kill Devil Hills Things to Do: 33 reviews and 45 photos
Bob walking along the path to the visitor's center
According to the NPS website:
"Professional photographs of the Wright Brothers Visitor Center tend to exaggerate its modern features by emphasizing the shell roof. With the barren site as a backdrop, all sense of proportion is lost. Drawings are equally deceptive. Even written descriptions distort the building's image by focusing on its relationship to contemporary airport facilities. In fact, the Wright Brothers Visitor Center is a small, relatively understated building. Despite the elevating concrete platform, it sits low in the landscape, allowing the hilltop monument to take center stage. Wright Brothers Visitor Center satisfied Director Wirth's mandate of protection and use. The building focuses on experience — leading visitors into the building, introducing a few facts, and then pushing them out to the site. The Wright Brothers Visitor Center was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in February 1998 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in January, 3, 2001."
Phone: (252) 441-7430
Each year, one or more individuals who have been pioneers of aviation are honored by having their portraits hung in the Visitor's Center.
Pictured, going right to left on the top row:
1) Amelia Earhart 1898 - 1937 First Woman To Fly Solo Across The Atlantic, 1932 First Pilot To Fly Solo Hawaii To California, 1935 Inducted in 1968
2) General James H. Doolittle 1896 - 1993
First To Make An All-Blind Instrument Flight From Take Off to Landing, 1929. Inducted in 1969
3) Jacqueline Cochran 1906 - 1980 First Woman To Pilot An Aircraft Supersonically, 1953 Inducted in 1968
4) Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd 1888 - 1957
First To Fly Over The North Pole, 1926
First To Fly Over The South Pole, 1929. Inducted in 1968
5) General Charles E. Yeager 1923 -
First Person To Pilot An Aircraft At Supersonic Speed, 1947 Inducted in 1968
6) Captain Henry T. Merrill 1894 - 1982 First Pilot To Make A Commercial Round-trip Flight Over The Atlantic, 1937 Inducted in 1976
7) Grover C. Loening 1888 - 1976 Army’s First Civilian Aeronautical Engineer, 1914 Inducted in 1972
Coming back towards us starting far left on bottom row
1) Alberto Santos-Dumont (in the funny white hat) 1873 - 1932 First To Fly A Heavier-Than-Air Machine In Europe, 1906 Inducted in 1981
2) Bessie Coleman 1893-1926 First Black Woman Licensed Pilot Inducted in 1989
3) Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge 1882 - 1908 First Military Officer To Pilot An Airplane, 1908 First Fatality In Powered Aviation, 1908 Inducted in 1971
4) Major General Benjamin D. Foulois 1879 - 1967 First United States Military Aviator Inducted in 1980
Directions: Inside the visitor's center surrounding the Wright Flyer replica
Exhibit of the plane/glider
We made a quick visit to the park before I went to the dentist to see where the first successful sustained powered flights in a heavier-than-air machine were made by Wilbur and Orville Wright. We went to the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center, and circled the 60-foot granite monument atop 90-foot tall Kill Devil Hill. Then we went back another day because we had not seen the Centennial of Flight exhibit.
The Wrights thought that the information on lift had already been documented; that they could use a rudder like a boat rudder; and a propeller like a boat propeller. All wrong. The lift data was flawed, the boat rudder won't work on a plane, and all the work on props had been trial and error.
Bob had said that he didn't understand the way that the Wrights controlled their airplane, and the ranger at the visitor's center explained it. Pitch was controlled with the left hand (the engine throttle was in the right hand), and there was a hip cradle which controlled the yaw and roll. One of the Wright's breakthrough's was to link the roll and yaw into one control.
He said that the Wright Bros only patented one item and that was the control system for flying, and that all airplanes today use that system. They didn't bother to patent the prop design which is 81% efficient - modern ones are only 85% efficient.
Wilbur died in NYC in 1912 of typhoid, but Orville lived until 1948, and became wealthy.
The Wright Brothers National Memorial is open 9am-6pm in the summer and 9am-5pm the rest of the year.
$3.00 - 7 Days
$20 - Annual
Directions: On the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the town of Kill Devil Hills. The Visitor Center is 15 miles northeast of Manteo, NC on US-158.
Phone: 252 441 7430
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