USATourist News MagazineJune 2007
In this issue:
Welcome to the June 2007 issue of USATourist News Magazine. This month we are visiting Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the location marked in aviation history by two determined brothers. We will also offer other suggestions on where to find additional interesting aviation history and events.
Kitty Hawk is one of the several small towns scattered among the 130 mile (209 km) long Outer Banks of North Carolina. The string of sandy-barrier islands that sits in the Atlantic Ocean hold hundreds of years of United States history. Kitty Hawk is best known for an event that took place December 17, 1903. That was the day Wilber and Orville Wright, commonly called the Wright Brothers, flew the first flying machine. That first flight lasted 12 seconds and a distance of 37 meters (120 feet). The "Flyer" accomplished four flights that day, marking one of the most impressive days in history. Orville Wright was the pilot for the first flight but he and Wilber took turns on the other flights that day. The longest flight that day ended up lasting 59 seconds.
What made this Flyer different from previous aircraft attempts was the three-axis control system which gave the Flyer mobility and the pilots control on how and when the Flyer flew. The wings allowed for lateral balance which helped the plane to recover when the wind blew the plane side-to-side. The rudder moved so the pilots could steer the plane. An elevator allowed the pilots to control the pitch control (up and down movement). It took another two years before a flying machine was considered perfected.
The Wrights Brothers Visitor Center holds a reproduction of the Wright Brother's 1902 glider and the 1903 flying machine. Visitors can also hike the Big Kill Devil Hill, the site where the Wright Brothers tested their experiments. A large granite boulder sits in the place where the Wright Brother's first plane took off.
Kitty Hawk is located 334 miles (538 km) south of New York City and 513 miles (826 km) north of Atlanta, Georgia. Kitty Hawk's closest major airport is Norfolk International airport (ORF) located in Norfolk, Virginia about 90 miles (144 km) northwest. Other commercial airport options are Raleigh and Greenville both in North Carolina.
Kitty Hawk may have a big part in aviation's history but scattered throughout the USA are many other tributes and museums honoring the people and events marked in aviation. At the Smithsonian in Washington DC you can see the actual Wright's Brother's 1903 Flying Machine. Normally the Flyer is suspended in the air as the centerpiece of the Milestones of Flight exhibit but for the first time it is currently being displayed on the floor where visitors can get an up close view. www.smithsonianeducation.org/educators/lesson_plans/wright
For a list of U.S. air museums visit the Aerofiles Web site. This site is a great reference for anything aviation: www.aerofiles.com/museums.html
As you fly across the USA you might notice the number of small deserted airfields and runways scattered across the land. Here is a site dedicated to these sites. It is loaded with photos, history, and tidbits about these abandoned areas. www.airfields-freeman.com
March through November are the months when most air shows are scheduled here in the U.S. While no air show is the same, they all have a variety of attractions such as airplanes with open cockpits so attendees can sit in the pilot seats, children's areas, airplane and helicopter rides, flight simulators, and food. The most exciting attractions are the aerobatic routines of civilian pilots. Another thrilling experience is watching the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform their formation flying and solo routines at some of the shows. The U.S. Army Parachute team also performs during air shows throughout the country. www.airshows.com
Tip: When attending an air show, be sure to bring earplugs, water and wear sunscreen.
Many of the air museums have a designated space section and then there are the huge Space Centers designated to space exploration.
The Johnson Space Center is Houston, Texas is full of exciting exhibits and attractions. The NASA Tram Tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The Astronaut Gallery features a collection of spacesuits. The Space Center has a fantastic Kids Space Place. www.spacecenter.org
The Kennedy Space Station east of Orlando, Florida also offers another out of this world experience. www.kennedyspacecenter.com and www.usatourist.com/english/places/florida/kennedy.html
The Official Ticket Center is a good source for discount tickets to Orlando's top attractions including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, Sea World Orlando, and Kennedy Space Center. Discounted Dinner Show tickets also available for Arabian Nights, Sea World's Makahiki Luau, Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Show, Pirates Dinner Show Adventure and Medieval Times.
There's a brand new way to see New York: New York Pass See the best and save time and money with the pass that gets you free admission to museums, zoos, and tours and so much more -- plus a free pocket-size guidebook!
We hope you enjoyed this issue. Happy Travels!
Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair
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