In 1966, the Kill Devil Hills Memorial Association was rekindled as the newly-incorporated First Flight Society. A keystone of the Society’s work today is the close support it offers the National Park Service at the Wright Brothers National Memorial. The Society established the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine, a portrait gallery that surrounds the Wright Flyer reproduction displayed in the Park’s visitor center at the Memorial. The Shrine is named for Paul E. Garber, the first director of the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.  The Shrine honors those individuals and groups that have achieved significant “firsts” in aviation’s development. A new member of the First Flight Shrine has been inducted during December 17 ceremonies every year since 1966 and is honored with the unveiling of their portrait.

Click on the links below for details on each enshrinee.

William Edward Boeing

Inducted 2013
Founder of the Boeing Airplane Company
1881-1956
Years after attending his first […]

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Charles Frank Bolden, Jr.

Inducted in 2012
Four-time astronaut and current Administrator, NASA
1946 -
Born in Columbia, […]

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David Sinton Ingalls

Inducted in 2011
First Ace in U.S. Navy History
1899 – 1985
DAVID SINTON […]

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Betty Skelton Frankman Erde

Inducted in 2010
First Lady of Aerobatics; Aviation and Automotive Pioneer
1926 – […]

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Frank Purdy Lahm

Inducted in 2009
One of first trainees for military aircraft
November 11, 1877 […]

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Frederick E. Humphreys

Inducted in 2009
One of first trainees for military aircraft
September 16, 1883 […]

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Herbert D. Kelleher

Inducted in 2008
Co-Founder, Southwest Airlines
1931 -
Herbert Kelleher is a Founder of […]

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Dr. Richard T. Whitcomb

Inducted in 2007
“Area Rule” & “Winglets” Impact us Today
1921 – 2009
A […]

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Tony Jannus

Inducted in 2006
American Flyer
1889 – 1916
Anthony Habersack Jannus was born in […]

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Captain Albert Berry

Inducted in 2005
Legends of Aviation
US Army Captain Albert Berry made a […]

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Tiny Broadwick

Inducted in 2005
Legends of Aviation
1893 – 1978
“Tiny” Broadwick, remembered as the […]

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Tuskegee Airmen

Inducted in 2004
Legends of Aviation
In spite of adversity and limited opportunities, […]

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Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright

Re-Inducted in 2003
First To Achieve Successful Powered Flight In A Heavier-Than-Air-Machine, […]

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John Knudsen Northrop

Inducted in 2002
Pioneer In The Aerospace Industry
1895 – 1981
John “Jack” Northrop’s […]

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Clyde Vernon Cessna

Inducted in 2001
General Aviation Pioneer
1879 – 1954
Born in Iowa and growing […]

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Donald W. Douglas

Inducted in 2000
Pioneer Aircraft Designer And Manufacturer
1892 – 1981
Donald Willis Douglas, […]

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Harriet Quimby

Inducted in 1999
First Licensed Woman Pilot In America, 1911, And First […]

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Anne Baumgartner Carl and Jean Hixson

Inducted in 1999
First Women To Fly American Military Aircraft; Women Air […]

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John P. Stapp, M.D.

Inducted in 1998
Pioneer In Aerospace Medicine
1910 – 1999
John Stapp began his […]

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Colonel Joe Kittinger

Inducted in 1998
First To Fly Solo Across The Atlantic Ocean In […]

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Tom Davis

Inducted in 1997
Pioneer In Commercial Aviation
1918 – 1999
Tom Davis was born […]

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General Henry H. Arnold

Inducted in 1997
Father Of The United States Air Force; First Five-Star […]

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Lawrence B. Sperry

Inducted in 1996
Inventor of the Autopilot, Turn and Bank Indicator, and […]

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Paul Poberezny and Tom Poberezny

Inducted in 1996
Founder and President, Experimental Aircraft Association
Paul Poberezny, 1921-2013
Tom Poberezny, […]

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Francis and Gertrude Rogallo

Inducted in 1995
Developed The First Successful Flexible Wing
Francis Rogallo
1912 – 2009
Gertrude […]

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Eugene B. Ely

Inducted in 1994
First Aviator To Take Off From A Ship, 1910, […]

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President George Herbert Walker Bush

Inducted in 1994
First Military Flyer To Become President Of The United […]

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Rear Admiral Alan B. Shepard, Jr.

Inducted in 1993
The First American In Space, 1961
The Fifth Man To […]

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First Americans to Pilot a Jet Aircraft 1942

Inducted in 1992
First Americans to Pilot a Jet Aircraft, 1942
Robert M. […]

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Sir Frank J. Whittle

Inducted in 1991
Pioneer Developer Of Turbo-jet Aircraft Engines
1907 – 1996
Sir Frank […]

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Hans-Joachim Von Ohain, Ph.D.

Inducted in 1991
Developed The Engine Powering The World’s First Jet Plane
1911 […]

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Colonel Yuri A. Gagarin

Inducted in 1990
First Person In Space, 1961
1934 – 1968
Colonel Yuri Alexeyevich […]

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Major General Albert F. Hegenberger

Inducted in 1989
Developer Of All-Blind Flight Control System
1895 – 1983
Major General […]

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Bessie Coleman

Inducted in 1989
First Black Woman Licensed Pilot
1893-1926
Bessie Coleman was born into […]

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First Women to win Bendix Transcontinental Speed Race 1936

Inducted in 1988
First Women To Win Bendix Trophy, 1936
Blanche Noyes
1900 – […]

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“The Voyager” First to Circumnavigate the Globe without Refueling

Inducted in 1987
First To Circumnavigate The Globe Non-Stop Without Refueling, 1986
Burt […]

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Walter R. Brookins

Inducted in 1986
The First Civilian Pilot, 1910
1888 – 1953
The Wright brothers […]

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Captain Bruce McCandless II

Inducted in 1985
First Man To Walk In Space Untethered, 1984
1938 -
Challenger’s […]

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Commander Theodore G. Ellyson

Inducted in 1984
First United States Naval Aviator, 1911
1885 – 1928
Theodore “Spuds” […]

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Charles Edward Taylor

Inducted in 1983
The World’s First Airplane Mechanic
1869 – 1956
Charlie Taylor was […]

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Albert Scott Crossfield

Inducted in 1982
First To Fly Three Times The Speed Of Sound, […]

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Alberto Santos-Dumont

Inducted in 1981
First To Fly A Heavier-Than-Air Machine In Europe, 1906
1873 […]

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Major General Benjamin D. Foulois

Inducted in 1980
First United States Military Aviator
1879 – 1967
Benjamin “Benny” Delahauf […]

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First Transatlantic Flight 1919

Inducted in 1979
Lieutenant Commander Albert Read, US Navy
Lieutenant James Breese, US […]

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Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr.

Inducted in 1978
First American To Orbit The Earth, 1962
1921 -
On February […]

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Crew of First Around-the-World Flight, 1924

Inducted in 1977
Chicago
1st. Lt. Lowell H. Smith, Pilot; 1st. Lt. Leslie […]

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Major Alford Williams, Jr.

Inducted in 1976
United States Navy’s First Chief Test Pilot; The Father […]

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Captain Henry T. Merrill

Inducted in 1976
First Pilot To Make A Commercial Round-trip Flight Over […]

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Calbraith Perry Rodgers

Inducted in 1975
First United States Transcontinental Flight, 1911
1879 – 1912
In 1911 […]

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Captain Edward V. Rickenbacker

Inducted in 1974
America’s Top World War I Ace
1890 – 1973
The development […]

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Louis Blériot

Inducted in 1973
First To Pilot A Plane Across The English Channel, […]

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General William “Billy” L. Mitchell

Inducted in 1972
First To Successfully Demonstrate The Capabilities Of Air Power, […]

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Grover C. Loening

Inducted in 1972
Army’s First Civilian Aeronautical Engineer, 1914
1888 – 1976
Grover Cleveland […]

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Major Robert M. White

Inducted in 1971
First Astronaut Designee In A Winged Aircraft, 1962
1924 – […]

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Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge

Inducted in 1971
First Military Officer To Pilot An Airplane, 1908.
First Fatality […]

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Igor Sikorsky

Inducted in 1970
First To Design, Produce And Fly A Helicopter In […]

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Wiley H. Post

Inducted in 1970
First To Fly Solo Around The World, 1933
1898 – […]

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Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, Michael Collins

Inducted in 1969
The First Lunar Landing, 1969
Apollo 11 blasted off from […]

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General James H. Doolittle

Inducted in 1969
First To Make An All-Blind Instrument Flight From Take […]

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Glenn Hammond Curtiss

Inducted in 1969
Pioneer Aviator, Designer and Manufacturer, 1911
1878 – 1930
After starting […]

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General Charles E. Yeager

Inducted in 1968
First Person To Pilot An Aircraft At Supersonic Speed, […]

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Amelia Earhart

Inducted in 1968
First Woman To Fly Solo Across The Atlantic, 1932
First […]

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Jacqueline Cochran

Inducted in 1968
First Woman To Pilot An Aircraft Supersonically, 1953
1906 – […]

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Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd

Inducted in 1968
First To Fly Over The North Pole, 1926
First To […]

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Charles A. Lindbergh

Inducted in 1967
First Non-Stop Solo Flight From New York To Paris, […]

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Wilbur & Orville Wright

Inducted in 1966
First To Achieve Successful Powered Flight In A Heavier-Than-Air-Machine, […]

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