Celebrating 100 Years of Flight

With Dayton's Inventing Flight event now in full swing, the Centennial celebration of the Wright brothers' first flight kicks into gear. Here's a quick and easy guide to everything going on this year. Check back often for updates.


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Inventing Flight: The Centennial Celebration, in Dayton, Ohio

July 3-20Events include living history performances, a free music festival, an aviation-art display, dance, films, and more. A few highlights from the Dayton calendar of events:July 3: Gala Opening Ceremonies at Fifth Third Field.July 4-7: RE/MAX Balloon Celebration. U.S. Air Force Museum. More than 100 hot-air balloons, with evening balloon glows. Screens will show the progress of a race of gas balloons from Dayton to Kitty Hawk, N.C., tracked by computer.July 11-13: International Blimp Meet. U.S. Air Force Museum. Billed as “the world’s first airship meet,” it’s an attempt to gather the most blimps ever in one place.July 11-13: “A Tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen.” Montgomery County Fairgrounds.July 14-17: . International Aerospace Symposium. Dayton Convention Center. Hosted by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences. This gathering of aviation professionals offers lectures and roundtable discussions on the theme: “The Next 100 Years: Access to the Universe?”July 17-20: Vectren Dayton Air Show. Dayton International Airport. Confirmed flying acts include France’s Patrouille de France, the Blue Angels, the Thunderbirds and the Canadian Snowbirds. Other features: NASA aeroelastic (wing-warping) aircraft, and AIAA Wright Flyer replica on display.July 18-19: National Aviation Hall of Fame ceremonies. “Pioneers of Flight Homecoming.” Honoring men and women who represent a century of flight. All living enshrinees have been invited to return for a homecoming in Dayton. As many as 35 are expected.July 20: Closing Ceremonies. Celebration Central.

Other Events Through the Rest of the Year


July 4: Transcontinental Glider Race. From California to Kill Devil Hills.July 27-28: EAA’s AirVenture Cup Race.Kitty Hawk, N.C. to Dayton to Oshkosh, Wisc. Race for amateur-built experimental aircraft. July 28 – August 17: Rockefeller Center Centennial of Flight Expo.New York City. Full-size replicas of historic aircraft, including the Wright 1903 and a Mercury Redstone Rocket.July 29-Aug. 4: EAA’s AirVenture 2003.Wittman Field, Oshkosh, Wis. Annual fly-in convention and air show. Fourth stop on EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk tour.


August 2-17: Dayton To Kitty Hawk bicycle tour.Dayton Cycling Club. Bicycling tour beginning at the Wright Cycle Shop in Dayton and ending in Kitty Hawk, N.C. August 19 is National Aviation Day.Aug. 19-25: National Aviation Day at Kill Devil Hills, N.C.Events at the Wright Brothers National Memorial include flybys; historic, experimental, and FAA aircraft displays; and a living history group in camp buildings. The Wright family is participating. Aug. 23-24: English Channel Crossing by Ultralights.Hundreds of British ultralight aircraft will fly across the English Channel to commemorate 100 years of powered flight. Organizers hope to set a record for the largest gathering of private airplanes to cross the channel in one day. Aug. 23-Sept. 2: EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk tour at Seattle Museum of Flight.


Sept. 8-24: National Air Tour.The Aviation Foundation of America re-creates the historic, uncompleted 1932 National Air Tour with a 4,000-mile journey of 25 vintage aircraft landing in more than two dozen cities from Michigan to North Carolina and back.


Oct. 8: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Centennial Exhibit.The Washington, D.C., museum opens a major new Wright brothers exhibit.


December 15: Opening of NASM Udvar-Hazy Center. Dulles International Airport near Washington. The new 700,000-square foot $88 million Udvar-Hazy Center will house 200 aircraft and 135 spacecraft, including the Space Shuttle “Enterprise,” a supersonic Concorde; the Boeing Stratoliner; and the B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay” that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan. Dec. 13-17: First Flight Centennial Celebration, Kill Devil Hills, N.C.Countdown to Kitty Hawk’s final stop. The EAA, using its reproduction of the Wright 1903 Flyer, will attempt to repeat the historic first flight at exactly 10:35 a.m. at the Wright Brothers National Memorial. General, commercial, and military aviation each will be celebrated during one day of the event, with another day for future aviation, and the final day to include the first flight recreation and a 100-airplane flyover.Dec. 17: Day-long flyover of Wright brothers’ graves.Dayton, Ohio. Organized by Wright Brothers Aeroplane Co. Tentative.

Other Useful Links

EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk Tour
Learn more here about the project that is bringing the Wright Flyer reproduction to Kitty Hawk, including tour dates and related programs.The Wright Experience
Ken Hyde and The Wright Experience built the Wright 1903 Flyer that is scheduled to fly at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in December. The site describes their work, and includes news updates and in-depth educational features.U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission
The official site for news, a somewhat unwieldy but comprehensive nationwide calendar of events, historical information, and the sights and sounds of flight, including videos and NASA’s official Centennial theme song.American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
AAIA’s Evolution of Flight Campaign features a touring replica of the Wright 1903 Flyer, a four-day symposium in Dayton in July on The Next 100 Years, and interactive online educational activities, including a Wright Flyer flight simulator.America’s Aviation Adventure
This site offers travel info and links to 15 aviation-related sites in Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina.NASA Century of Flight
Links to all of NASA’s Centennial-related sites, including lots of educational features. First Flight Society
This North Carolina historical group is dedicated to preserving and honoring the memory of the Wright brothers’ achievements.The North Carolina First Flight Centennial Celebration
Home page for North Carolina’s events, plus materials for educators.

More listings and links are welcome, and can be sent to Mary Grady.