We welcome you to join one of aviation’s oldest and finest organizations. The FFS was founded in 1927. This non profit organization celebrates the accomplishments of the Wright Brothers and helps educate the world about aviation! Join us in our mission and help support The Paul E Garber Shrine, Aviation Education, Scholarships and the annual December 17th Celebration in Kitty Hawk, NC.
Save the date! December 17th, 2022 is the 119th anniversary of powered flight. The First [...]
Welcome to First Flight Society
Celebrating the 12 Seconds that Changed the World!
This website is the hub of First Flight Society information. We highlight information that will interest members and casual enthusiasts alike. You will find out what the First Flight Society accomplishes, how to join the Society, and how to contact us.
Return to the Outer Banks every December 17th to celebrate with us!
Wright Brothers Day
Countdown to our next Wright Brothers Day Celebration!
#PaulGarberShrine honoree Albert Scott Crossfield.The year 1953 was a year of milestones. The Town of Kill Devil Hills (home of Wright Brothers National Memorial) was incorporated. On May 18th Jackie Cochran flew an F-86 Sabre faster than the speed of sound (Mach 1). She was the first woman to do so. On November 20th, less than a month before the 50th anniversary of the Wrights’ first flight, Albert “Scott” Crossfield became the first to fly at Mach 2 - more than twice the speed of sound!Crossfield and the Wright brothers had much in common, other than their historic “firsts”. Scott (born October 2, 1921) battled childhood illnesses, and while on bed rest his imagination took him, “across oceans, into deep valleys and above the mountains. I dreamed of flying from California to New York nonstop and setting a new record.” Orville battled typhoid fever as a young man and nearly died. While Orville was on bed rest, Wilbur read about Otto Lilienthal’s death – this news changed their lives forever. At age 12 or 13, Crossfield took his first flying lessons at a small airfield on his paper route. He would give newspapers to the owner and wash planes in exchange for those lessons. Life on the family farm turned Scott tough, and his time at the University of Washington turned him into an engineer. Crossfield joined the U.S. Navy as a flight instructor and fighter pilot during WWII before earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Crossfield’s thesis explored the future of aviation: supersonic aircraft.As a research pilot for National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, the precursor of NASA), Crossfield would fly experimental craft at Edwards Air Force Base in California. These experimental aircraft included the X-1, XF-92, X-4, X-5, and the Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket. On this day in 1953, Crossfield pushed the Skyrocket to over 1,320 mph and became the first person to break Mach 2!In 1955, he joined North American Aviation, having garnered more experience with rocket planes than any other pilot in the world. There, he pushed the X-15 to a then-record-breaking altitude of 88,116 feet. Crossfield’s work on supersonic flight paved the way for space exploration, though he never formally received the title “astronaut”. Crossfield would later become an executive for Eastern Air Lines, senior vice president for Hawker Siddeley Aviation, and consultant to the House Committee on Science and Technology. He would earn many awards over his lifetime, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal as well as the Harmon and Collier Trophies. After retiring, Crossfield joined the Countdown to Kitty Hawk project. He worked with pilots Terry Queijo and Kevin Kochersberger in their attempt to recreate the Wrights’ 1903 first flights at the 2003 Centennial of Flight Celebration. Crossfield died in 2006; his private plane crashed during a flight from Alabama to Virginia. Above all, Wilbur and Orville Wright were engineers and scientists. Wilbur felt that to tame a “fractious horse”, you needed to ride it: “If you really wish to learn, you must mount a machine and become acquainted with its tricks by actual trial.” Scott felt the same, telling Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine in 1988: "I am an aeronautical engineer, an aerodynamicist, and a designer...My flying was only primarily because I felt that it was essential to designing and building better airplanes for pilots to fly." Read more about Scott Crossfield and how he advanced aviation toward a new frontier: www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/about/biographies/pilots/scott-crossfield.html📷: NASA photo of A Scott Crossfield with his D-558-II Skyrocket after the record-breaking Mach 2 flight in 1953. 📷 alt text: Historical photo of smiling man in flight suit next to plane. #AFractiousHorse #OnThisDay #ScottCrossfield #AviationHistory #AviationHistoryMonth #FindYourPark #WrightBrothersNationalMemorial #EncuentraTuParque ... See MoreSee Less
First Flight Society, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization designated by the IRS. Gifts to the First Flight Society are tax deductible to the extent authorized by law. Please consider making a gift to the FFS this year.
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.
Check out our sister site WrightBrothersDay.org for more information about the annual December 17th Celebration.
We would like to Thank and Highlight our 2021-22 Sponsors: