It Seems It Hasn't Gotten Any Easier In The Last 100
Ken Hyde (right) and
the hard-aviating gang at the Wright Experience have resumed
proof-of-concept tests with its reproduction 1903 Wright Flyer at
The Wright Brothers National Memorial in advance of the
breathlessly awaited Dec. 17 re-enactment of the world's first
The reproduction 1903 flyer is as close to the original flyer as
can be engineered and was assembled by The Wright Experience with
painstaking detail over the past four years. On Nov. 25, the
aircraft was damaged during tests here, but repair work by The
Wright Experience crew during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend
returned the airplane to operational status in less than four
"Fortunately, the airplane's damage was not as severe as first
feared and we have resumed our testing program," said Ken Hyde,
founder of The Wright Experience. "In recent days we've learned a
tremendous amount on operational processes and in reading the wind,
so we will be well prepared for the re-enactment.
"In many ways, our experience last week walked in the footsteps
of the Wright brothers, who also conducted extensive tests prior to
their first flight and suffered a setback similar to ours just
three days before they made history."
The reproduction will culminate with its flight at 10:35 a.m. on
Dec. 17, 2003, 100 years to the minute of the Wright brothers'
On Nov. 20, the 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction piloted by Dr.
Kevin Kochersberger was successful in a 97-foot proof-of-concept
test flight. The test program is part of an encampment, which
involves extensive preparation and rigorous training and is being
completed under the direction of legendary test pilot Scott
Crossfield. It has also been vital to validating the innovative
genius of the Wright brothers.
Hyde and his crew from The Wright Experience are attempting to
recreate the Wright Brothers' first flights in every detail.
However, the growing popularity of the Outer Banks of North
Carolina has complicated the challenge.
"In 1903, this area was a desolate piece of sand with nothing to
interrupt the flow of air all the way to the ocean," said Hyde.
"Today, houses and buildings abound and trees have been planted to
stabilize the dunes. This creates more turbulence, but we're
learning to live with that.
"We've also learned that the hospitality and support extended to
the Wright brothers so many years ago continues today. We're
grateful for the warm reception and we are excited to be at this
historic site where we will repeat the magnificent accomplishment
of the Wright brothers."