Documents
Resources
Learning Center
Upload
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

NEWS RELEASE

VIEWS: 11 PAGES: 11

									                                                                NEWS RELEASE
Press Contacts:                                               For Immediate Release
Susan Friday Lamb, 919-715-0200, ext. 313                             July 17, 2003
John Campbell, 919-715-0200, ext. 243

                           Pioneers of Aviation
       On Dec. 17, 1903, an elated Orville and Wilbur Wright conquered the skies.
The pioneering brothers achieved powered flight over 120 feet of sand at Kill Devil
Hills. In just 12 seconds, Orville’s inaugural flight propelled the world into the
aviation age.
       On Tuesday, July 29, the N.C. Museum of History opens an exhibit
celebrating the centennial of this soaring achievement and the first century of flight.
Pioneers of Aviation tells the stories of Tar Heel inventors, daredevils, military aces,
astronauts and commercial aviators. More than 150 artifacts, photographs and videos
bring these stories — many of which are ―firsts‖ in aviation — to life. Models ranging
from World War II airplanes to a Mars lander prototype further enhance the exhibit,
which runs until May 29, 2005, in Raleigh. Admission is free.
       ―The museum is pleased to offer this exciting new exhibit as part of North
Carolina’s First Flight Centennial Celebration,‖ says Elizabeth F. Buford, director of
the Division of State History Museums. ―I think our visitors will be amazed how many
North Carolinians through the decades have been aviation pioneers.‖
       Pioneers of Aviation features numerous artifacts and photographs from the
Wright brothers’ years on the Outer Banks. Among Orville and Wilbur’s personal
belongings are wooden airfoils, proportional dividers and other testing devices used in
their experiments. Exhibit visitors will discover fascinating stories associated with
items from the Kill Devil Hills Life-Saving Station. The lifesavers not only provided
assistance, they also witnessed the first flight. One crew member, John T. Daniels,
captured Orville’s 12-second flight in his now-famous photograph.
       The Wrights first came to Kitty Hawk in 1900, returning each year until their
famous flight at nearby Kill Devil Hills. The remote area offered ideal conditions for
their glider experiments, and local residents contributed valuable support and
assistance. In fact, Wilbur assembled the brothers’ first glider in postmaster William J.
Tate’s front yard. Tate’s wife, Addie, helped stitch the wing fabric with her 1899
Kenwood sewing machine.
       No one would have guessed these North Carolinians were helping two men
who would change the world. Nor would anyone have predicted the steady stream of
aeronautical ―firsts‖ that followed.
       Within a decade, Tar Heels were flying for fun and profit. In 1913 Oxford
native Georgia Ann ―Tiny‖ Broadwick became the world’s first woman to parachute
from an airplane. Pioneers of Aviation features a jumpsuit, parachute and parachute
harness used by the popular daredevil, who made more than 1,100 jumps in her career.
Another barnstormer, Belvin Maynard, called the Flying Parson, won a highly
publicized transcontinental air race in 1919. The Anson County native later set a world
record when he performed 318 loop-de-loops in 67 minutes.
       The exhibit also highlights notable North Carolina aviation inventors.
Raleigh’s Igor Bensen invented the Gyro-Copter, a small one- or two-seat flying
machine that sold by the thousands until 1987. Hang gliding took off when Outer
Banks resident Francis Rogallo developed the flexible-wing hang glider.
       The growth of commercial airline service inspired Tar Heel businessmen such
as Tom Davis, founder of Piedmont Airlines. Under his leadership, the company
became the state’s most successful passenger airline. An aircraft simulator used to
train Piedmont Airlines pilots in the 1960s, a pilot’s uniform and other exhibit items
are reminders of the airline’s years of service.
       North Carolina boasts an impressive list of military aviation pioneers and
combat pilots. In 1912 Eric Ellington of Clayton became a member of the First Aero
Squadron, the country’s first military air unit.
       A number of Tar Heels fought as pilots in World War I, and many of them
engaged in combat before the United States entered the war in April 1917. For
example, in 1916 Kiffin Rockwell of Asheville joined the Lafayette Escadrille, a
group of American pilots who flew combat missions for France. That same year he
became the first American to shoot down a German plane. Medals awarded to
Rockwell by France are showcased in Pioneers of Aviation.
     During World War II, George Preddy of Greensboro became a top ace in the
European theater. He shot down more than two dozen German aircraft, six of them in
one day. Robert Morgan of Asheville piloted the famous Memphis Belle, the first B-17
to complete 25 successful missions over Europe without any fatalities. In addition,
William Carey Lee of Dunn is regarded as the father of the American paratrooper
program. In 1942 he assumed command of the U.S. Army’s newly created 101st
Airborne Division.
       Pioneers of Aviation recounts Tar Heels who served in top aerial combat units,
such as the Tuskegee Airmen of the European theater. The achievements of the
Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-African American military flying unit, led to the full
integration of the military in 1948. The Tuskegee Airmen included Raleigh’s Vernon
Haywood, one of the first blacks to fly jet aircraft.
       Women aviators performed essential noncombat assignments during World
War II. Katherine Lee Adams of Durham flew for the Women Airforce Service Pilots,
and Mary Nicholson of Greensboro was one of 25 American women who flew for the
Air Auxiliary Service in England.
       North Carolinians have soared to even greater heights in the space program.
Oxford’s James Webb served as the administrator of NASA in the 1960s, and several
Tar Heels have flown on space shuttles. In 1967 William Thornton of Faison became
the state’s first scientist-astronaut to join NASA, and Beaufort native Michael Smith
piloted the ill-fated Challenger. Visitors will see a poignant reminder of the Jan. 28,
1986, tragedy: a North Carolina flag recovered from Smith’s bag after the Challenger
exploded shortly after launch.
       Pioneers of Aviation concludes with a look to the future. A prototype of a
spacecraft developed at the Mars Mission Research Center at N.C. State University
soars within the exhibit. A full-scale version of this prototype was used in studies at
NASA’s Langley Research Center.
       Visit Pioneers of Aviation to learn more about the Wright brothers’
accomplishments and the North Carolinians inspired by their success. The exhibit is
underwritten and sponsored by Capital Broadcasting Co., the Junior Women’s Club of
Charlotte, Lord Corporation, Raleigh’s News and Observer, the N.C. Department of
Cultural Resources and the N.C. Museum of History Associates.
                                       ###
The N.C. Museum of History’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and
Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. The museum is part of the Division of State
History Museums, Office of Archives and History, an agency of the N.C. Department
of Cultural Resources.

                    See Three Full-Sized Aircraft at the Museum
       Suspended above the museum lobby, visitors will see an exact replica of the
airplane flown by the Wright brothers on Dec. 17, 1903. An authentic Bensen Gyro-
Copter and Rogallo wing hang glider also soar above.
                                                                NEWS RELEASE
Press Contacts:                                               For Immediate Release
Susan Friday Lamb, 919-715-0200, ext. 313                               July 17, 2003
Michelle Carr, 919-715-0200, ext. 306

                             RELATED PROGRAMS

          The N.C. Museum of History offers a variety of programs to complement the
exhibit Pioneers of Aviation. Celebrate North Carolina’s aviation history in an out-of-
this-world Family Day on Aug. 23. During this free event, climb aboard a 5-ton Huey
military helicopter, meet a NASA specialist, see 80 model airplanes and much more.
Another event, the 2004 Symposium on Civil Rights, on Oct. 4, examines the
experiences of African Americans and American Indians who fought for change in the
United States armed forces. Special guests include Wilson V. Eagleson, a former
Tuskegee Airman and member of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, and William
Weathersbee, a member of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion and the Second
Ranger Infantry Company Airborne.
          There are programs for all ages, so come see Aviation Pioneers and learn more
about the Wright brothers’ accomplishments and North Carolina’s first century of
flight.
* Saturday Story Time: First in Flight
Saturday, Aug. 9
10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Free admission.
Find out how the Wright brothers flew their plane and learn about other early fliers in
North Carolina. See a full-scale replica of the Wright flyer in the museum lobby, and
create a paper airplane to take home.

* Up, Up, and Away: The History of Flight
Saturday, Aug. 23
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission.
With a century of aviation achievements to celebrate, this event has a list of activities
that seems endless. Watch professional actors portray Orville and Wilbur Wright, hear
musician Bett Padgett sing about the famous brothers, and see a variety of displays
from North Carolina aviation organizations. A model-making workshop is available
on a first-come, first-served basis for 20 participants ages 8 to 15. There’s even a full-
scale replica of the Turkey Buzzard, a monoplane that Henry Gatling invented and
attempted to fly in 1873. All ages will enjoy this daylong event.

2004 Symposium on Civil Rights
“Fighting for Change: Military Service and Civil Rights”
Saturday, Oct. 4
8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Free admission.
Register by Wednesday, Oct. 1. Call 919-715-0200, ext. 306.
Learn about the unequal treatment African Americans and American Indians
experienced in the United States armed forces and the changes brought about by
President Harry S. Truman’s executive order calling for desegregation of the military.
Scholars and North Carolina veterans will address topics such as breaking the color
barrier, opportunities for minority women and the legacy of civil rights legislation in
the military. This program is made possible by the generous support of
GlaxoSmithKline. North Carolina teachers are eligible to receive six contact hours
toward recertification for their participation.
History à la Carte: From Gliders to Flyers
Wednesday, Dec. 10
12:10 to 1 p.m. Free admission.
Bring your lunch; beverages are provided.
Learn about man’s early attempts to fly and the Wright brothers’ dedication to making
flight a reality. Fred R. DeJarnette, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering
at N.C. State University, presents this program.
       For more information about aviation-related educational programs planned for
2004, call 919-715-0200 or access ncmuseumofhistory.org. Free parking is available
on weekends.

   * programs of interest to children or families
                                          ###
The N.C. Museum of History’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and
Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. The museum is part of the Division of State
History Museums, Office of Archives and History, an agency of the N.C. Department
of Cultural Resources.
                                         ###
                                                               NEWS RELEASE
Press Contacts:                                              For Immediate Release
Susan Friday Lamb, 919-715-0200, ext. 313                              July 17, 2003
John Campbell, 919-715-0200, ext. 243

Listing by County
                     AVIATION PIONEERS
              WITH NORTH CAROLINA CONNECTIONS

       The Wright brothers’ first flight led the way for a succession of aeronautical
achievements in the next century. Listed by county are aviation pioneers with North
Carolina ties. These individuals are featured in the exhibit Pioneers of Aviation,
opening Tuesday, July 29, at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh.
       Alamance County – From 1942 to 1944, employees at the Fairchild Aircraft
Corp. in Burlington produced training planes for the U.S. Army Air Forces. The first
Fairchild AT-21 Gunner was built at the factory in 1943.
       Anson County – In 1919 Belvin Maynard, known as the Flying Parson,
performed a record 318 loops in 67 minutes. That same year he won a highly
publicized transcontinental air race.
       Beaufort County – James Baugham of Washington was a member of the
Lafayette Flying Corps in World War I. He died in 1918 from wounds sustained in
aerial combat.
       Bladen County – Curtis Brown of Elizabethtown joined NASA in 1987 and
has flown on six space shuttles. He has logged more than 1,383 hours in space.
       Buncombe County – During World War II, Asheville’s Robert Morgan
commanded the famous Memphis Belle, the first B-17 to complete 25 successful
missions over Europe without a single casualty. In 1916, prior to the United States’s
entry in World War I, Kiffin Rockwell of Asheville became one of the seven original
members of the Lafayette Escadrille. That same year he became the first American to
shoot down a German plane.
       Carteret County – Robert H. Hill of Beaufort was an original member of
U.S. Navy Squadron VF-17. The World War II squadron, nicknamed Jolly Rogers,
pioneered the use of fighter-bombers and was the top-scoring squadron, navy or
marine, of its day. In 1903 Luther Paul, an inventor and mechanic, tested an
experimental helicopter, which he called the Bumble Bee. He claimed his device could
lift about 5 feet off the ground. He abandoned his invention in 1909. Michael J.
Smith of Beaufort was the pilot of the ill-fated Challenger, which exploded shortly
after launch on Jan. 28, 1986.
       Craven County – New Bern native Bayard Wootten may have been the first
North Carolina photographer and the first woman to make aerial photographs.
       Dare County – Sheldon Beacham, the ―Kitty Hawk Kid,‖ was an original
member of U.S. Navy Squadron VF-17. The World War II squadron, nicknamed Jolly
Rogers, pioneered the use of fighter-bombers and was the top-scoring squadron, navy
or marine, of its day. John Driskill was the first commercial pilot to operate in the
Hatteras area. In 1945 he became the first civilian issued a helicopter license by the
Civil Aeronautics Authority. Crew members of Kill Devil Hills Life-Saving Station
assisted the Wright brothers in camp and also witnessed the first flight. Crew member
John T. Daniels captured Orville’s first flight in his now-famous photograph. Francis
Rogallo developed a flexible-wing hang glider, the Rogallo wing, over a period from
the late 1940s to the 1960s. He is regarded as the father of the modern hang glider.
Kitty Hawk postmaster William (Bill) J. Tate and his wife, Addie, assisted the
Wright brothers in the early 1900s and became their longtime friends. The Tate’s
oldest daughter, Irene Tate Severn, became the first female pilot to fly round-trip
between New York and Miami. Dan Tate, half-brother of Bill Tate, was the Wright
brothers’ only paid employee on the Outer Banks. Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first
flight took place at Kill Devil Hills on Dec. 17, 1903. Orville’s 12-second flight,
covering 120 feet, was followed by three more flights that day. The fourth flight,
piloted by Wilbur, went 852 feet in 59 seconds.
        Davie County – Thomas W. Ferebee of Mocksville was the bombardier of
the B-29 bomber Enola Gay. On Aug. 6, 1945, the Enola Gay dropped the first atomic
bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
       Duplin County – In 1967 William Thornton of Faison became the state’s first
scientist-astronaut to join NASA. He served as a physician in the Skylab program and
logged 313 hours as a mission specialist on two space shuttle missions in the 1980s.
       Durham County – Durham native Katherine Lee Harris Adams flew for the
Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II. In 1969 Warren H. Wheeler of
Durham established Wheeler Flying Service, the first commercial air carrier owned by
an African American.
       Forsyth County – In 1948 Thomas H. Davis of Winston-Salem founded
Piedmont Airlines, the state’s most successful home-based passenger airline.
       Gaston County – Percy E. Divenny of Cherryville served in U.S. Navy
Squadron VF-17. The World War II squadron, nicknamed Jolly Rogers, pioneered the
use of fighter-bombers and was the top-scoring squadron, navy or marine, of its day.
       Granville County – In 1913 Oxford native Georgia Ann Thompson “Tiny”
Broadwick became the first woman to parachute from an airplane. She made more
than 1,100 jumps in her career. James E. Webb from Tally Ho became the second
administrator of NASA on Feb. 14, 1961. Under his direction, NASA conducted the
nation’s first manned space flights.
       Guilford County – Ronald E. McNair, who attended North Carolina A&T
State University, was a NASA astronaut. He was aboard Challenger when it exploded
on Jan. 28, 1986. In 1929 Mary Webb Nicholson of Greensboro became the first Tar
Heel woman to earn a pilot’s license. She was one of 25 American women who flew
for the Air Transport Auxiliary in England during World War II. George E. Preddy
Jr., who was born in Greensboro, became a leading ace in the European theater during
World War II. Greensboro native Allen H. Watkins Sr. was a base commander of the
Civil Air Patrol, a volunteer civilian defense organization during World War II.
       Harnett County – Dunn native William Lee is regarded as the father of the
American paratrooper program. In 1942 he assumed command of the U.S. Army’s
newly created 101st Airborne Division. Coats native Alton Stewart was a popular
barnstormer during the 1920s. He was one of the first North Carolinians to receive a
commercial pilot’s license.
       Hertford County – In 1873 Henry Gatling built a hand-powered, twin-
propellered monoplane that he allegedly flew 100 feet before it hit a tree and crashed.
He died before he could perfect his invention.
       Johnston County – In 1912 Clayton native Eric Ellington became a member
of the First Aero Squadron, the country’s first military air unit.
       Mecklenburg County – Thornwell H. Andrews of Charlotte was one of the
first North Carolinians to make a living flying airplanes. In the 1910s he gave
exhibitions for the Lindsay Hopkins Aviation Company.
       Moore County – Charles E. Brady Jr. from Robbins joined NASA as a flight
surgeon in 1992. In 1996 he flew on space shuttle mission STS-78, the longest space
shuttle mission to date. James R. McConnell of Carthage became a World War I
correspondent and then joined the Lafayette Escadrille in 1916.
        New Hanover County – Arthur Bluethenthal of Wilmington served in
Escadrille 227 of the Lafayette Flying Corps as a bomber pilot during World War I.
He was killed in action on June 5, 1918.
        Pasquotank County – Haldane King of Elizabeth City was a fighter pilot
during World War II. He also trained as a B-25 pilot and was a member of the 477th
Bomber Group. During World War II, U.S. Naval Air Station Weeksville was a
center of airship activity.
        Robeson County – William McArthur grew up near Wakulla. Since joining
NASA in 1990, he has flown on three space shuttle missions. In 1942 Thomas
Oxendine, a Lumbee from Pembroke, became the first American Indian
commissioned as a naval aviator.
        Rockingham County – Madison native Robert Lindsay was North Carolina’s
only World War I ace. A member of the 139th Pursuit Squadron, he downed six
German airplanes in 20 aerial fights.
        Rutherford County – George Henry Mills of Rutherfordton commanded
several airship patrol units, popularly known as blimp patrols, during World War II. In
1943 he assumed command of Fleet Airships Atlantic.
        Stokes County – Jacob Hill tried to improve the dirigible. In early 1902 he
was almost ready to test a dirigible with a 30-foot-high airbag and a light gasoline
motor attached to the undercarriage, but neither his venture nor his aircraft ever took
off.
        Wake County – Raleigh’s Igor Bensen invented the Gyro-Copter, a small one-
or two-seat flying machine. In 1953 he established Bensen Aircraft Corporation in
Raleigh. Leonidas Polk Denmark of Raleigh served as a pilot in France during
World War I. In 1921 he was one of three men commissioned to represent North
Carolina at the burial of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
Raleigh native Vernon Haywood served as a Tuskegee Airman in the European
theater during World War II. He was one of the first African Americans to fly jet
aircraft and also one of the first African American jet instructors. Thomas Purcell, a
Raleigh native and Chapel Hill resident, developed the first flex-wing glider to take
off from water, 1962. The FlightSail, which used the Rogallo wing, had floats and was
towed by a speedboat. Katherine Stinson grew up on a farm near Raleigh. In 1941
she became the first woman to graduate from N.C. State College’s School of
Engineering. She was also the first female engineer hired by the Civil Aeronautics
Administration, now known as the Federal Aviation Administration.
###

								
To top