...High Hopes And Ambitious Announcements...

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Honda's decision to produce (or not produce) their 225-hp piston aircraft engine is due before the end of the year (though probably not at Kitty Hawk). Boeing's 7E7 super-efficient, mostly composite airliner "Yea or Nea" announcement is due soon, too. But the biggest scheduled event may be much more weather-dependent -- Wednesday the 17th will (if it pleases Mother Nature) offer the long-anticipated re-creation of the Wrights' first flight, courtesy of The Wright Experience's Wright Flyer reproduction. Saturday, organizers said Kevin Kochersberger will be at the controls for Wednesday's flights -- there will be no coin toss. Kochersberger had more success on his trials than his teammate, Terri Queijo. But even if weather prevents a Wednesday attempt, President Bush is expected at 2 p.m., amid rampant speculation (and Hussein related elation), he may announce plans for manned flight to the moon or even Mars. A phalanx of aviation's stars, from John Glenn to Neil Armstrong to Chuck Yeager, will take turns in the spotlight while John Travolta plays host. One hundred planes will fly over throughout the day, with half after the first re-enactment, scheduled for 10:35 a.m., and the remainder following the second re-enactment. Of course, weather is always a factor, and this is the Outer Banks heading into winter, so anything can happen. Also scheduled to participate are the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the U.S. Army Golden Knights, and the U.S. Air Force Academy Jump Team. "The Centennial Celebration is about the Wright Brothers, airplanes, and flying. That is why the people are coming," said Ken Mann, chairman of the First Flight Centennial Commission. "This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many people to see these performances by some of the best pilots in the world."

NOTE: For more coverage of the Centennial celebration, watch for AVweb's special report in Thursday morning's news, from our correspondent on the site, Dave Martin. For TV viewers, C-Span and NASA TV are expected to cover Wednesday's events. And on Wednesday night at 8, the Discovery and Discovery Wings channels will broadcast a special program featuring highlights of the day.