Local News

Wright descendants mark 110th anniversary of first flight

Posted December 17, 2013 6:41 p.m. EST
Updated December 17, 2013 6:43 p.m. EST

— On a spectacular winter day on the Outer Banks, spectators looked up and looked back Tuesday at a day 110 years ago that changed history.

Orville and Wilbur Wright opened the skies to controlled powered flight on Dec. 17, 1903, when their plane took off on a 12-second flight on the dunes of North Carolina's coast.

To mark the milestone, a procession of aircraft flew overhead Tuesday, each influenced by the Wright Flyer.

"It is hallowed ground to anybody in aviation," said Matt Artz, who brought his family to the Wright Brothers National Memorial for the anniversary celebration.

"We think it's an important part of history, and we definitely want to pass that on to our kids," Sue Artz said.

Six-year-old Ozzie Artz even came close to being named Orville, according to his parents.

Orville and Wilbur Wright never married or had children, but their brothers, Reuchlin and Lorin, did, and Wright descendants and relatives of those who witnessed the famous flight laid wreaths at the site Tuesday.

"It's a source of huge pride for me," Amanda Wright Lane said, noting that she thinks about her family every time she boards a jet. "I think about how far it's come and how far we have to go. I mean, it's unlimited where our imaginations can take us."

Both Ohio, which was home to the Wright brothers, and North Carolina lay claim to being "First in Flight."

Paul Wright Jameson said he'd give the nod to Ohio, adding, "Without North Carolina, it wouldn't have happened."

"The brothers built the airplane in Dayton, but this is the place where it flew. So, I have to say there couldn't have been one without the other," Wright Lane said.