At the turn of the 20th century, the thoughts of Wilbur and Orville Wright turned to flying.
The Wright brothers had a successful bicycle repair shop in Dayton, Ohio. Neither had graduated high school, but both were skilled mechanics and talented mathematicians.
They dreamed of solving the problem of flight.
To launch their experiments, they need the perfect location—open spaces, steady winds, a gentle slope to launch their glider, and somewhere soft to land. A weather station manager assured them they would find the perfect conditions at Kitty Hawk.
Armed with years of research and observations of birds and kites in flight, the Wright brothers arrived in nearby Kill Devil Hills in 1900. With help from the friendly locals, they spent three summers testing and improving their flying machines.
They found the solution on December 17, 1903, when Orville piloted his Flyer for 12 seconds and 120 feet over the sandy shores of the Outer Banks.
At Wright Brothers National Memorial, you can see replicas of their early flying machines and the engine block of the plane that made that first historic flight. View the test range from atop Kill Devil Hill and see where the first flight took off.