First Flight Shrine

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.

Inducted in:
Name:
Accomplishment:
1966
Wilbur and Orville Wright

First to achieve successful powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine, 1903

1967
Charles Lindbergh First non-stop solo flight from New York to Paris, 1927
1968
Richard Byrd First to fly over the North Pole, 1926 First to fly over the South Pole, 1929
1968
Jacqueline Cochran First woman to pilot an aircraft supersonically, 1953
1968
Amelia Earhart First woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, 1932
First pilot to fly solo Hawaii to California, 1935
1968
Charles E. Yeager First person to pilot an aircraft at supersonic speed, 1947
1969
Glenn Curtiss Pioneer aviator, designer and manufacturer
1969
Jimmy Doolittle First to make an all-blind instrument flight from take-off to landing, 1929
1969 Neil Armstrong,
Edwin Aldrin,
Michael Collins
First lunar landing aboard Apollo 11, 1969
1970
Wiley Post First to fly solo around the world, 1933
1970
Igor Sikorsky First to design, produce and fly a helicopter in the western hemisphere, 1940
1971
Thomas Selfridge First military officer to pilot an airplane, 1908
First fatality in powered aviation, 1908
1971
Robert White First astronaut designee in a winged aircraft, 1962
1972
Grover Loening First civilian aeronautical engineer in the US Army,
1914
1972
William Mitchell First to successfully demonstrate the capabilities of air power, 1921
1973
Louis Blériot First to pilot a plane across the English Channel, 1909
1974
Edward Rickenbacker America's top World War I ace
1975
Cal Rodgers First United States transcontinental flight, 1911
1976
Henry T. Merrill First pilot to make a commercial round-trip plane flight over the Atlantic, 1937
1976
Alford Williams Navy's first chief test pilot; father of dive bombing
1977
Lowell Smith,
Leslie Arnold,
Leigh Wade,
Henry Ogden,
Erik Nelson,
John Harding, Jr.
First around-the-world flight, 1924
1978
John Glenn First American to orbit the earth, 1962
1979
Albert Read,
James Breese,
Herbert Rodd,
Elmer Stone,
Walter Hinton,
Eugene Rhoads
First transatlantic flight, 1919
1980
Benjamin Foulois First United States military aviator
1981
Alberto Santos-Dumont First to fly a heavier-than-air machine in Europe, 1906
1982
Albert Scott Crossfield First to fly three times the speed of sound, 1960
1983
Charlie Taylor World's first airplane mechanic
1984
Theodore Ellyson First United States naval aviator, 1911
1985
Bruce McCandless First man to walk in space untethered, 1984
1986
Walter R. Brookins First civilian pilot, 1910
1987
Burt Rutan,
Dick Rutan,
Jeana Yeager
First to circumnavigate the globe non-stop without refueling, 1986
1988
Blanche Noyes,
Louise Thaden
First women to win Bendix Trophy, 1936
1989
Bessie Coleman First black woman licensed pilot
1989
Albert Hegenberger Developer of all-blind flight control system
1990
Yuri Gagarin First person in space, 1961
1991
Hans Von Ohain Developed the engine powering the world’s first jet plane
1991
Sir Frank J. Whittle Pioneer developer of turbo-jet aircraft engines
1992
Robert M. Stanley,
Lawrence C. Craigie
First Americans to pilot jet aircraft, 1942
1993
Alan Shepard First American in space, 1961
Fifth man to walk on the moon, 1971
1994
George H. Bush First military flyer to become President of the US, 1988
1994
Eugene Ely First aviator to take off from and land on a ship, 1910 & 1911
1995
Francis and Gertrude Rogallo Developers of the first successful flexible wing
1996
Paul Poberezny,
Tom Poberezny
Founder and president, Experimental Aircraft Association
1996
Lawrence Sperry Inventor of the autopilot, turn and bank indicator, and parachute pack
1997
Henry Arnold
Father of the US Air Force and first five-star general
1997 Tom Davis Pioneer in commercial aviation
1998
Joe Kittinger First to solo the Atlantic in a helium balloon, 1984
1998 John Paul Stapp, M.D. Pioneer in aerospace medicine
1999
Anne Baumgartner Carl, Jean Hixson First women to fly American military aircraft; Women Air Service Pilots
1999 Harriet Quimby First licensed woman pilot in the US, 1911, and
First woman to solo the English Channel, 1912
2000
Donald W. Douglas Pioneer aircraft designer and manufacturer
2001
Clyde Cessna General aviation pioneer
2002
Jack Northrop Pioneer in the aerospace industry
2003
Wilbur and Orville Wright First to achieve successful powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine, 1903
2004
Tuskegee Airmen Legends of Aviation
2005
Tiny Broadwick, Captain Albert Berry First Lady of Parachuting; Tethered jump from a Benoist Headless airplane
2006
Tony Jannus American Flyer
2007
Dr. Richard T. Whitcomb "Area Rule" & "Winglets" Impact us Today
2008
Herbert D. Kelleher Co-Founder, Southwest Airlines
2009
Frederick E. Humphreys One of first trainees for military aircraft
2009
Frank Purdy Lahm One of first trainees for military aircraft
2010
Betty Skelton Frankman Erde First Lady of Aerobatics
2011
David Sinton Ingalls First Ace in U.S. Navy History
2012
Charles Frank Bolden, Jr. Four-time astronaut and current Administrator, NASA
2013
William Edward Boeing Founder of the Boeing Airplane Company