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100 Years Ago Today...

Vote Quimby

TRIBE Member
...the Wright brothers made their first flight.

Wright brothers' historic flight to be honoured

Associated Press

Washington — U.S. President George W. Bush's ability to make a quick trip to North Carolina to pay tribute to the Wright brothers' first flight illustrates how commonplace manned flight has become — especially if you live in the White House.

Mr. Bush on Wednesday was taking one flying contraption, a helicopter known as Marine One, from the White House to nearby Andrews Air Force Base; then to board another, the jumbo Boeing 747 commonly known as Air Force One, for North Carolina; then onto another helicopter for the hop to the Outer Banks.

He gives a speech, watches a planned re-enactment of the Wright brothers' 12-second flight 100 years ago, then does the sequence of flights backwards — Marine One to Air Force One to Marine One to the White House.

In his speech, Mr. Bush was saluting two of America's greatest inventors, and noting that the Wright brothers launched an airplane in the face of great cynicism. The President also was holding them up alongside other great American inventors and arguing that they embodied the American spirit.

Pro-space optimists had buzzed for weeks over whether Mr. Bush would use the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' flight to announce a new mission to the moon or to Mars, but the White House made clear the President had no such intentions.

Mr. Bush “might just make reference” to future space flight, spokesman Scott McClellan said. “He is strongly committed to the exploration of space.”

The president's trip is a full-circle return of sorts to the dunes of Kill Devil Hills, N.C., just south of Kitty Hawk, the site of “12 seconds that changed the world.”

He travels aboard one of the world's most recognizable descendants of the Wright Flyer to watch the planned re-enactment at 10:35 a.m. EST Wednesday, 100 years to the minute after it occurred. Some 35,000 people were expected to watch along with Mr. Bush, a far cry from the five local residents who watched the Wright brothers take flight.

The re-enactment was organized by the Experimental Aircraft Association, a nonprofit aviation organization based in Oshkosh, Wis. It hired retired pilot Ken Hyde to build a precise Wright flyer replica to fly on the centennial.

The re-enactment caps a weeklong festival honouring the Wrights' successful flights of Dec. 17, 1903.