Centennial Tickets Scarce, As Test Flights Resume

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The National Park Service (NPS) will stop selling tickets online for the First Flight Centennial celebration, set for Dec. 12-17, this Sunday, Dec. 7, at 10 p.m. EST. Tickets for the 16th and 17th have already sold out, and the rest are going fast. Recently, tickets have appeared for sale on eBay and in newspaper classified ads, drawing bids for hundreds of dollars, according to Monday's Virginian-Pilot. Ticket sales are limited to 35,000 for each day of the event, held at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Meanwhile, the Wright Experience team at Kitty Hawk have completed repairs to their 1903 Flyer reproduction and have resumed flight training in preparation for the Dec. 17 event. The 17th is the hottest ticket, with scheduled attractions to include John Travolta as emcee, attempted re-enactments of the first flight at 10:35 a.m. and 2 p.m., and a possible appearance by President Bush. For the unsold dates, Dec. 13-15, tickets cost $10 per day (Dec. 12 is an unticketed day). If any tickets remain after Sunday, they will be sold at a site on the Outer Banks, but the location for that has not yet been announced. The Sunday cutoff date was instated to provide adequate time to mail tickets to purchasers so that tickets are received in time, the NPS said. The six-day commemoration is designed to not only acknowledge the genius of the Wright brothers, the NPS said, but to honor all aviators around the world who followed in their footsteps, and the airplane's evolution in the last century from the Wrights' 1903 Flyer to supersonic jets and spacecraft. Themes for the six days include: Dec. 12 -- Igniting The Imagination (non-ticketed day); Dec. 13-14 -- Remember The Past, Imagine The Future; Dec. 15 -- Protecting The Home Of The Brave; Dec. 16 -- In History's Footsteps, Celebrating 100 Aviation Pioneers; and Dec. 17 -- Twelve Seconds That Changed The World. Through Sunday, tickets can also be bought over the phone, by calling 1-800-973-7327, or (301) 722-1257 for callers outside of the United States. As of Tuesday, over 170,000 tickets had been sold, and only about 7,000 were left.