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7 07, 2014

Amelia Earhart

Inducted in 1968

First Woman To Fly Solo Across The Atlantic, 1932
First Pilot To Fly Solo Hawaii To California, 1935

1897 – 1937

Amelia Earhart made world headlines with the first transatlantic solo flight by a woman when she flew a Lockheed Vega from Newfoundland to Londonderry, Northern Ireland, May 20-21, 1932. This was exactly five years after Lindbergh’s first solo flight from New York to Paris. For her accomplishment, Earhart received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Four years earlier, in 1928, Earhart had received international notice by becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, but as a passenger. On June 17, 1928, Earhart had flown aboard a Fokker C-2 Tri-motor piloted by Wilmer Stutz from Newfoundland to Wales. Thereafter, Earhart began to set records as a pilot herself.

In 1929 Earhart won third place in the first Women’s Air Derby race from Los Angeles to Cleveland. In 1930 she set an international speed […]

7 07, 2014

Jacqueline Cochran

Inducted in 1968

First Woman To Pilot An Aircraft Supersonically, 1953

1906 – 1980

On May 18, 1953, aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to pilot an aircraft supersonically. She broke the sound barrier, flying 625.5 miles per hour, in an F-86 Sabre and thus joined the previously male only “supersonic club.” Years later, on June 3, 1964, Cochran piloted an F-104G Starfighter at twice the speed of sound, establishing a woman’s world speed record of 1,429 miles per hour.

Cochran learned to fly at age 22 in order to expand her cosmetics business. She soon caught racing fever and competed in numerous races during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Cochran won several air records, including the women’s west to east transcontinental speed record and altitude records. She became the first woman to make a “blind” landing and the first to fly a warplane across the Atlantic Ocean. From 1938 to 1940, […]

7 07, 2014

Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd

Inducted in 1968

First To Fly Over The North Pole, 1926
First To Fly Over The South Pole, 1929

1888 – 1957

Lieutenant Commander Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett were the first airmen to fly over the North Pole in the “Josephine Ford,” a Fokker Trimotor equipped with skis. Shortly after midnight on May 9, 1926, navigator Byrd and pilot Bennett lifted off a snow-packed runway at Kings Bay, Spitsbergen in Norway. They headed across the formidable arctic wasteland and at 9:02 a.m. crossed the top of the world, 800 miles from their take-off point.

On Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1929, pilot Bernt Balchen, Byrd and a crew of three climbed aboard the Ford Trimotor that Byrd had named “Floyd Bennett” after his old comrade who had died in 1928. At 3:29 p.m. they left the ice pack, headed due south at a speed of 90 miles per hour and climbed to 8,000 feet. As […]

6 06, 2014

Charles A. Lindbergh

Inducted in 1967

First Non-Stop Solo Flight From New York To Paris, 1927

1902 – 1974

Charles Lindbergh was not the first pilot to fly across the Atlantic: there were 12 prior crossings, five of them non-stop. However, Lindbergh’s solo flight from New York to Paris in May 1927 electrified the world and directly impacted American aviation, air transport and popular attitudes toward flying.

Lindbergh’s hazardous lone journey started in the early morning of May 20, 1927, with little pre-flight notice. At the heart of the Ryan “Brougham” NYP plane, called the “Spirit of St. Louis” for his sponsors, was a single 220-horsepower Wright Whirlwind engine. Lindbergh was counting on its efficiency and reliability to enable him to win the $25,000 Orteig prize for the flight. To save weight, the Ryan high-wing monoplane carried no radio or parachute; every possible ounce was eliminated to provide space for fuel. For instance, Lindbergh used a periscope […]

25 04, 2014

Wilbur & Orville Wright

Inducted in 1966

First To Achieve Successful Powered Flight In A Heavier-Than-Air-Machine, 1903

Wilbur Wright: 1867 – 1912
Orville Wright: 1871 – 1948

The Wright brothers made the world’s first four successful airplane flights on the cold, windswept sands of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Their “Flyer” lifted from level ground to the north of Big Kill Devil Hill at 10:35 a.m. on December 17, 1903. Orville piloted the 605-pound machine during the first flight, traveling 120 feet in 12 seconds.

Although Wilbur achieved the best results of the day on the fourth and final flight, 852 feet in 59 seconds, it is Orville’s earlier flight that is best remembered. As Orville later described:
“This flight lasted only 12 seconds, but it was nevertheless the first in the history of the world in which a machine carrying a man had raised itself by its own power into the air in full flight, had sailed forward without a […]

11 04, 2014

First Flight Society Friends Agreement Signed with National Park Service

April 11, 2014

The NPS recognizes the long and valuable tradition of philanthropy in the national parks. Friends groups have played a critical role in the success of this country’s national parks, and it is the policy of the NPS to support and strengthen its relationships with the First Flight Society, and to encourage innovation and creativity to meet mutual goals.

In 1927, a group of forward-thinking northeastern North Carolina business and civic leaders began an effort to preserve the original site of the Wright brothers’ flights of December 17, 1903. The group formally organized on August 16, 1927, as the Kill Devil Hills Memorial Association and set about the task of acquiring the site where Orville and Wilbur Wright made their four historic flights in 1903. The Kill Devil Hills Memorial Association was formally incorporated in 1943. Its name was changed to Kill Devil Hills Memorial Society in 1951 and in […]