Orville’s 133rd Year Birthday Party, 2004

by Dr. Richard Stimson

in Celebration Activities

The party was held on August 19th at the Wright Brother’s National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills. It was also National Aviation Day.

A number of photographs of the activities are provided below:

The people in this picture are members of the Wright family. They are from left to right Meredith M. Lane, Marianne Miller Hudec, Amanda Wright Lane, Ken Yoerg, Kyle Yoerg, Keith Yoerg, Janette Davis Yoerg, and Nicole Yoerg.

Amanda is a great-grandniece of Wilbur and Orville. Marianne is a grandniece.

Amanda and Marianne shared many Wright family memories with an attentive audience.

I had a good time talking to Amanda. She has a great sense of humor. During her talk she related some of the tricks that Orville liked to play on people.

One of them pertained to Orville’s vacation home on Lambert Island in Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay.

To easily reach the cottages at the top of a steep hill, Orville built a cart running on a set of wooden rails driven by an outboard motor attached to a cable and drum system. It was referred to as “Orville’s Railway.”

On one occasion he kidded some visiting ladies that they needed to go on a diet. When they were part way up the hill on the “railway,” Orville stopped the engine and yelled down the hill that the engine couldn’t handle the weight.

These four men are direct descendents of the lifesaving crew stationed at the Kill Devil Hills Lifesaving Station that helped Orville and Wilbur during their flights in 1900-1903.

The surfman on the far left is Jack Marcellous Ward whose ancestor was a station keeper. Orville’s diary entry on December 19, 1903 contains the following note: “About noon Capt. Jesse Ward brought telegrams from Norfolk correspondents of N.Y World asking price for exclusive rights to pictures and story — .”

Here is Tom Crouch signing his new book, Wings, for me.

During his presentation he addressed the question of whether Orville and Wilbur were really the first to fly. It should be no surprise to hear that the answer was yes!

This answer to a controversial question provides much credibility coming from this senior historian and most respected authority on the Wright Brothers from the Smithsonian Institution.

This is Beverly Hyde, the wife of Ken Hyde of the Wright Experience. She came dressed in a beautiful period dress that she had made to enhance the display of Wright artifacts provided by the Wright Experience. In the background is a reproduction of the Wright wind tunnel. There were wind tunnel, engine and propeller demonstrations.

Ken Hyde and Kevin Kochersberger, who piloted the centennial Wright Flyer described what they had learned from researching and flying the Flyer.

One of the most interesting facts that they presented was about the adverse impact the rain had on the attempt to fly at the Centennial. The water on the wings was not a problem; the real problem was the water on the launching rail.

They had waxed the rail and that caused the rainwater to form bubbles. When the Flyer hit the water bubbles it caused the water to spray over the engine. The spray landed on the ignition causing the engine to start missing at the critical point of take-off.

Ken showed a video of the launch and you could hear the engine sputtering towards the end of the launching rail.

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