Wright Brothers Day

Wright Brothers Day celebrates the innovations of aviation developers Orville and Wilbur Wright every December 17th. On this day in 1903, the brothers achieved the first successful flight of a heavier-than-air craft in North Carolina. It is celebrated on the same day as Pan American Aviation Day.

Many ceremonies and activities will be held to celebrate Wright Brothers Day. The most prominent ceremony is the Wright Brothers dinner in Washington DC, where the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy is presented. Most memorials and events take place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, at the site of the Wright Brothers camp at the top of Kill Devil Hill. This 425 acre space features the Wright Brothers National Memorial at the top of this hill, a 60 ft. granite tower.

Some schools will hold educational programs on aviation and the Wright Brothers or visit aviation museums, which may feature special exhibits for Wright Brothers Day.

The brothers were born in Dayton, Ohio, and devoted their lives to aviation innovationThis first aircraft was called “Flyer” and first flew for twelve seconds and reached 120 feet.

Wright Brothers Day has been observed since 1963 and became an official day of commemoration in Ohio on October 5, 2011.

Fun facts about the Wright Brothers:

  • Neither brother received their diploma, although Wilbur completed all four years of high school
  • Neither brother married
  • The brothers were two of seven children
  • Their father, a bishop, is believed to have started their interest in aviation when he brought home a toy helicopter, which the boys played with until it broke. Then, they started to make their own flying toys
  • Wilbur was planning to attend Yale until he became socially withdrawn after getting his front teeth knocked out with a hockey stick
  • Orville dropped out of high school to start a printing business. He and Wilbur had designed their own press
  • The inspiration for navigation controls came from a bird’s ability to angle their wings
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