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A Special Message From EAA President Tom Poberezny:
This week was one that has been unmatched in EAA’s history and memorable for all aviation enthusiasts. The past few days at the Wright Brothers National Monument in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, with EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk activities culminated a yearlong celebration of powered flight. The activities were exciting and emotional, bringing together aviation enthusiasts from around the world to the place where it all started 100 years ago.
The feeling I received from many in attendance was that they just HAD to be at Kitty Hawk for this event, and over the five days, nearly 100,000 of them were there. It speaks to the power of the moment that on Wednesday, despite driving rain all day, only 800 of the 35,000 tickets sold went unused.
What really captivated me was not so much the December 17 flight attempts, but the anticipation of that moment. To see thousands of people sitting on the side of the large hill at the memorial and staying there through the rainy day shows what this event meant to everyone. Millions more watched on television, including hundreds at the AirVenture Museum.
When the EAA Wright Flyer entered the circle on Wednesday, and started its engines, the mood was positively electric. It was a moment that was nearly indescribable. While it was a disappointment that the airplane did not fly as all hoped that day, the original goal of the program had been reached successfully. EAA and The Wright Experience sought to create a truly authentic reproduction of the Wright brothers’ first successful airplane, fly it, and bring it to Kitty Hawk on the 100th anniversary of powered flight. All of those things occurred, as the Flyer had earlier flown successfully at the National Memorial. We proved that the Wrights’ efforts were true and that they could be duplicated. Never before had an authentic reproduction made such an attempt at Kitty Hawk.
On Wednesday, the conditions were such that if Wilbur and Orville had seen them on December 17, 1903, they wouldn’t have flown that day. We knew we were on the bottom end of the Flyer’s performance range. The rains brought heavy, moist air and winds barely reached the minimum speeds of 10-12 mph. On the second and final attempt, the winds died to less than 5 mph, never giving us a chance to run the airplane down the railing. Despite that, we believed it was important to make attempts to fly the airplane. December 17 was the only day it was possible to make those commemorative attempts, not only to keep it historically accurate, but much of the infrastructure, volunteer base, security and other logistics could not be held past that day.
Everyone involved made an incredible effort to make it happen. I personally thank all of them for their tireless work, not only this week but over the past few years. In addition, I sincerely thank our partners in EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk: Ford Motor Company, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Eclipse Aviation and Northrop Grumman. They had the vision and were true partners every step of the way, supplying the support and resources necessary for such a project.
EAA has been very proud to be the leader of this celebration, throughout the entire year and especially at Kitty Hawk. Matched with the programs such as “50 Flags to Kitty Hawk” and EAA’s Centennial Homebuilts, as well as local EAA celebrations in many locations, it has been something that I will never forget. Being there this week, with thousands of people who love flight because of what it means to their lives, reminded me a little of the people who come to Oshkosh each summer. This week, we honored two separate but equally important things: The history that has been made, as well as the history that will be made in the years to come.
Team Not Disappointed Airplane Did Not Fly
The engine started, the props whirred, the aircraft rolled out along the rail and lifted up preparing for flight, but in the end, weather conditions got the best of the Wednesday afternoon's attempt to recreate the first powered flight from 100 years ago at Kitty Hawk.
But those involved did not express disappointment at a debriefing session following a planned but abandoned second attempt later in the afternoon.
"I'm not disappointed at all," said Ken Hyde, founder of The Wright Experience. "Sure, I would have liked to see the airplane fly today, but the conditions did not allow that to happen. We have seen the airplane fly three times in the (November) encampment and we learned so much. We have the data to show that.
1 Million Young Eagles Celebrated
The 1 millionth Young Eagle, Andrew Grant, and his pilot, Rick Ellis, had a busy week during the 100th anniversary celebration. Andrew and his family arrived in Kill Devil Hills on Sunday evening. Andrew was somewhat surprised by his new "celebrity" status as he was recognized by several EAA members in the airport on the way to North Carolina. The flight crew even informed the rest of the passengers that they had Young Eagle #1,000,000 aboard. On Monday, he was flown on board Dan Gryder's DC-3, which was at the celebration in support of Portraits of Hope (www.portraitsofhope.org), where more than 2,000 children at hospitals across the country painted the DC-3 as a creative project to engage children and adults facing trauma or serious illness.
Champion Wild Blue Wonders Team Performs at Centennial
When Civil Air Patrol Squadron 097 from Port Angeles, Washington, emerged the best of 12 EAA Wild Blue Wonders teams at the regional level, its six members were excited to be among those vying for the national title at AirVenture Oshkosh 2003.
When they won that championship in July, they were absolutely elated. That earned them a trip to the Centennial of Flight celebration being held this week at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Monday morning, they appeared at EAA's Countdown to Kitty Hawk Pavilion, the main exhibit attraction on these hallowed grounds.
EAA's 50 Flags to Kitty Hawk to Be on Permanent Display at Wright Memorial
During Tuesday's (December 16) presentation of 17 EAA member pilots who participated in EAA's 50 Flags to Kitty Hawk program, National Park Service Southeast Regional Director Patricia Hooks announced that the flags would become a permanent fixture of the Wright Brothers National Memorial.
"We're going to locate a place for a permanent display here for the EAA 50 Flags to Kitty Hawk flags," she said. Until that spot is located, she said the flags would be displayed at the pavilion, a temporary structure erected at the park for the Centennial of Flight celebration, and other locations throughout the facility. The beginning of the permanent display, pending location selection, will be announced at a later date.
Centennial Flight Banquet Shown Live from Oshkosh
Spirits soared at the EAA AirVenture Museum on Wednesday evening, December 17, during the sold-out Centennial of Flight Banquet. More than 400 people gathered in the Eagle Hangar to see a rebroadcast of the day's events at Kitty Hawk, hear special guests Voyager pilot Dick Rutan and airline pilot Julie Savage, watch exclusive pre-recorded messages from Amanda Wright Lane, Stephen Wright, Tom Poberezny and others, plus revel with other aviation enthusiasts on the 100th anniversary of powered flight.
Among the guests were several teachers and young people from EAA's Charter School program in Oshkosh. Many of them shared how learning about aviation has affected their lives and will take them into the second century of flight.
SpaceShipOne Breaks Sound Barrier
Scaled Composites, the experimental aircraft company owned by pioneering aviation designer Burt Rutan, announced that SpaceShipOne flew Mach 1.2 (930 mph) near the desert town of California City, California, during a test flight on December 17, 2003—the 100th anniversary of powered flight. The successful outcome is a milestone for manned supersonic aircraft developed solely by private funds and one step closer to a simpler, less expensive flight to space.
EAA and Falcon Insurance Agency Announce “Insurance Tips” from the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan
Falcon Insurance Agency, the official plan administrators for the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan, is starting a new expanded service for EAA Members. “Insurance Tips” will appear in e-Hot Line and on the EAA website as a benefit resource for EAA Members. Each article will talk about important topics and answer EAA Member questions about various topics related to aircraft insurance. The first installment entitled “Six Easy Steps in Buying the Right Airplane Insurance” has just been posted on the EAA website.
To take advantage of the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan, get your quote by clicking “get a quote” or by going to the EAA website or by going to the Falcon website. If you haven’t looked into the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan you are probably paying too much for your airplane insurance and you are not getting the most coverage you get for your premium dollars!
Johanson Heads for Home
Australian Earthrounder Jon Johanson (EAA 265714), who had been stranded at the McMurdo/Scott Base in Antarctica since December 8, finally made it back to Invercargill, New Zealand, on Sunday, December 15, after receiving about 100 gallons of fuel from fellow EAAer Polly Vacher (EAA 727449). Vacher, who had the fuel stocked at McMurdo/Scott for her own world endeavor, no longer needed the fuel after canceling her trip midstream for lack of fuel elsewhere. In return for the fuel, Johanson will aid Vacher in her cause, Wheelies on Wings, the Australian equivalent to Flying Scholarships for the Disabled. According to ABC News Online, Johanson was expected to continue the journey to his hometown of Adelaide on Monday (Tuesday AEDT) after a good night's rest.
EAA Centennial Homebuilt of the Week
Stan English (EAA 71429) received his Ridge Runner kit in August 2001. He completed the project in August 2003 and finally "got some air under the wheels" on October 28,2003. This is his 7th homebuilt project. Learn more about Stan's project on the centennial homebuilt website. Attention, builders: you have until December 31 to register your aircraft as an EAA Centennial Homebuilt. For details, visit www.eaa.org/homebuilders/centennial.asp.
Timeless Voice of the Week
December 17th marked the centennial of the first powered, controlled flight in human history. In just twelve short seconds and 120 feet later the Wright brothers stepped into the history books, marking themselves as the grandfathers of powered flight. In continuation of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Orville and Wilbur’s achievement, this week’s “Voice” comes from a woman who celebrated her own centennial, turning 100 years old this year. Nellie Belle Dickinson Griess was born January 14, 1903—almost exactly eleven months before Orville Wright made that magical flight. Read more about Nellie's experiences at the Timeless Voices website.
On The Flight Line ---
RKA Enterprises Acquires Square One Aviation
Square One Aviation, based at the Chino Airport in California, announced that RKA Enterprises Inc. acquired the company on December 11, 2003. Square One, a vintage aircraft restorer known for its P-51 Mustang restorations, has produced many award winners, including the Bell P-63 Kingcobra and the North American F-86 Sabre Jet. It is the only aircraft restorer that offers the proprietary two-seat TF-51 conversion.
Ross Anderson, president and owner of RKA Enterprises, assured the vintage aviation community that the company will continue to offer the same exceptionally high-quality restorations offered by Square One. Anderson, a former Navy F-4 & F-8 fighter pilot and Top Gun instructor, carries several years of business experience as chief executive officer of a number of aerospace manufacturing companies.
For further information, call Square One Aviation at 909/597-6269 or visit www.sq1aviation.com.
DTA Trikes Now Available in the U.S.
Many trike pilots around the world watched as Olivier Aubert flew his DTA Voyageur around the world in 1999 (together with Mike Blyth). Their trip was a world record (27,000'). Olivier's trike is unique in that it has no front strut and is thus completely open in the front. Also, it is made with aircraft grade stainless steel and other alloys, precision welded.
This trike is now available in the United States through Rainbow Aircraft Inc. of Los Angeles, California. DTA (France) also has several other trike models including the Evolution (an open trike with front strut) and the Feeling (same frame but with fairing for cold-weather flying). All trikes are constructed with stainless steel and have unique features that set them aside from others. For more details, call 310/251-7560 or visit www.adventuresportaircraft.com.
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