…Showcases Aviation’s Old Foils (Weather)…


The planned 10:35 a.m. launch was delayed by a downpour that soaked visitors and would have made the Flyer too heavy to fly well, according to The Wright Experience founder Ken Hyde. A subsequent flight, following the first (less successful) one was anticipated later in the afternoon, but a frontal passage accompanied by shifting, gusty winds prevented it. No subsequent public flight of the Flyer was announced. The aircraft was purchased for display in the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. President George W. Bush talked exclusively about the achievements of the Wright Brothers and other aviation heroes and dispelled rumors by making no announcement of a new manned-space program. The Presidents party arrived and departed in helicopters a few hundred feet from the site where Orville Wright flew the Flyer 120 feet in 12 seconds 100 years ago. Highlights of the celebration were introduction of the recently announced 100 Heroes of Aviation, many of whom are living and were present. Introduced and speaking briefly were, among others, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, John Glenn, Chuck Yeager, Patty Wagstaff, Martha King, Jeana Yeager, Francis Rogallo and others less well-known. Weather permitting, military and civilian aerobatic performers and demonstrators entertained, and musical groups performed. Even without a re-enactment of the 1903 Dec. 17 flight, the event was obviously the place to be on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2003.

NOTE: AVweb thanks former Kitplanes editor Dave Martin for his contributions to this story.