Wright Brothers – Kitty Hawk 2003 Celebration Events

Articles relating to Kitty Hawk’s celebration activities & events.

My wife and I were walking on the beach of Kill Devil Hills, NC last Dec. 17th while enjoying watching an ultralight airplane fly overhead around the Wright Memorial. Little did we know that we would meet the pilot several hours later at a reception celebrating the 101st anniversary of the first flight held at a local hotel sponsored by the First Flight Society.

He turned out to be more than your average ultralight pilot; he had just flown his ultralight all the way to Kill Devil Hills from Venezuela. His name is Omar Contreras and he had flown from Margarita Island, Venezuela, to Kill Devil Hills, stopping along the way in Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, the Bahamas and Florida.

He said his purpose is to spread goodwill by creating and strengthening partnerships among cities along the way. When he leaves Kill Devil Hills he is heading for New York and then flying across the country to Los Angeles. From Los Angeles he will head south to Mexico and Central America, and then head west to Colombia before returning home. His journey will have covered 11,500 miles.

This isn’t the first time he has made such a journey. Last spring he completed a 13,000-mile adventure through South America visiting over 100 cities in four months.

His ultralight is a Clipper 912S made in France. The plane is capable of 75 mph with an altitude ceiling of 18,000 feet.

His trip is sponsored by variety of businesses and other organizations, including Kitty Hawk Kites on the Outer Banks.

In talking with Omar you could sense the spirit of the Orville and Wilbur. I think they too would have enjoyed Omar’s adventure.

Check out his website. It is in Spanish and English. www.volandoelnorte.com

While attending the Wright Brothers Centennial I met the three guys that must have come the farthest to attend the festivities.

I met them at the Kill Devil Hills post office one morning where I had gone to buy some centennial stamps. I was a little early and there were three other people that were standing in line ahead of me. We got to talking and I found out that they were pilots and had flown all the way from Australia. That began an interesting several hour conversation with Boyd Monro, Fabio Bertin and aircraft owner, John Petit. (Notice the Wright Memorial in the background of the picture).

Their trip home to Australia would take them through JFK-New York, Iceland, Greenland, Scotland, Heathrow-London, Ankara-Turkey, Tehran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Singapore and Bali-Indonesia.

Woloomanata is located in Victoria and once served as a base for Spitfires, the famous British fighter of World War II. It is not a town or city that can be found on a map.

I was impressed that they were flying this distance in a two-engine Piper Navajo. The plane has been modified with 350-hp turbo-charged engines and four blade propellers. They also carry a satellite phone.

All three of the men are veteran pilots and take turns flying the plane.

They said that they had a great time visiting the site where the Wrights flew and were fascinated with the markers noting how far each of the four original flights traveled.