(23) Wright Brothers

The most profound and far-reaching transportation event of the period was the successful aviation tests of Ohio bicycle makers and aeronautical experimenters Wilbur and Orville Wright at Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks. Beginning in 1900, the Wrights made annual trips to the coastal sand dunes, traveling by train to Elizabeth City and then by boat to Kitty Hawk. Their time at Kitty Hawk was spent testing their theories with a succession of kites and flyers, an, in the process, refining important principles of flight. On December 17, 1903, Orville made the first machine-powered flight, lasting just 12 seconds and covering approximately 100 feet. By the end of the day the fourth flight, with Wilbur at the controls, covered an astonishing 852 feet in 57 seconds. The Age of Flight had truly begun. After several years of continued experiments and modification, the Wrights returned to Kitty Hawk in May 1908 for the last time to practice for demonstrations in Virginia and France. With the feats of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, the Albemarle’s place in aviation history was firmly established.