A Century Of Flight In One Week

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Kill Devil Hills, It's Going To Be Busy...

The Centennial of Flight festivities at the Wright Brothers National Memorial, on North Carolina's Outer Banks, kicked off Friday, with the news that the White House has confirmed President Bush will speak at the site on Wednesday. Friday's crowds and traffic were not as heavy as expected, though weather was not forbidding. Attendance, estimated at about 5,000, was well below the park's capacity of 35,000. "This is what I was hoping for," Lawrence Belli, National Park Service superintendent, told the Virginian-Pilot. The event opened with an air show, musical acts, flyovers, exhibits and static displays. Tomorrow, the event will honor 100 heroes from aviation's first century, including Louis Bleriot, Harriet Quimby, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, and several still alive today: Bob Hoover of air show fame; Paul Tibbetts, pilot of the Enola Gay; Francis Rogallo, who invented the wing that launched the sport of hang gliding; astronaut Sally Ride; aircraft designer Burt Rutan; and many more. Tomorrow's air show will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and feature Patty Wagstaff, Mike Mancuso, the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Ian Groom, Bobby Younkin and Matt Hall. At 4 p.m. the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will fly by in the Missing Man formation.