As if battling Ohioans over their claim to the Wright Brothers wasn't enough, now the Brazilians have joined the fray. It's hard to travel out to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and not stop by the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, NC. Here, on these very dunes, the W-Bros spent years pursuing and eventually achieving the first heavier than air, powered & controlled flight. While Ohio has settled with "The Birthplace of Aviation" - the brothers tested their inventions, lived, and were born there - Brazil made national headlines at the Olympics this year when they claimed that one of their turn of the century aviators had in fact, beaten the Wright Brothers to powered flight. Shade has officially been thrown.
The Memorial is operated by the National Park Service - those familiar with NPS will find entry and admission familiar (small fee, NPS passes apply). Highlights on the grounds include the picturesque Memorial (pictured above and below), a Visitor's Center with Wright Flyer and Glider reproductions, and the actual spot where the first flight took place.
Despite the debate over who actually was first in flight, you'll undoubtedly come away from the memorial amazed at what a couple of bicycle makers from Ohio accomplished. It was an interesting time in the world when folks figured out that you could build models, conduct experiments, and test theories, all without actually strapping on wings and jumping off of cliffs like some of the Wright Brothers' predecessors ("I'm flying!"...splat).
After you visit the Park, there is still tons to do on the Outer Banks. Head to nearby Jockey's Ridge, eat at the most mind-blowing Mexican restaurant of your life, or head to nearby beaches. To infinity and beyond!
~Paul & Amber ETC
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