U S Centennial of Flight Commission F Y 2000 Report to Congress

National Presentations and Coordination

The Centennial of Flight Commemoration Act, as amended, charges the Commission with sponsoring meetings of "Federal agencies, State and local governments, and private individuals and organizations for the purpose of coordinating their activities" and with providing advice and recommendations, through NASA or the FAA, to individuals and organizations conducting their own activities in celebration of the centennial of flight.

In response, the Commission has set aside time at each Commission meeting to hear presentations from national and local centennial event sponsors. By becoming more knowledgeable about the many activities currently in the planning stages, the Commission will be better able to perform its communication and coordination responsibilities. During FY 2000, the Commission received briefings from major organizations in North Carolina and Ohio, as well as from the EAA.

North Carolina
North Carolina-based organizations making or supporting presentations to the Commission included the First Flight Centennial Commission, the First Flight Centennial Foundation, the First Flight Society, the Wilmington International Airport, and the North Carolina Department of Aviation.

The First Flight Centennial Commission was created by the State of North Carolina in 1994, and has a mandate to "develop and plan activities to commemorate the centennial of the first flight and other historical events related to the development of powered flight." Administratively-housed under the Department of Cultural Resources, the First Flight Centennial Commission plans to sponsor at least one major initiative, and several smaller events, in each year leading up to the centennial. They will launch the centennial year in December 2002, and will feature at least one major activity each month. A week long set of activities will culminate on December 17, 2003. A broad set of aviation-related celebratory themes, including education, the arts, peace and humanitarian contributions, importance to the military, and flight-specific events such as national and international air shows and air events will be showcased.

The First Flight Centennial Foundation was created in 1996 by the First Flight Centennial Commission as a mechanism for generating additional funding for centennial programs. The Foundation's Board of Directors chartered a "Rise to the Occasion" Campaign, an effort to raise nearly $13 million to commemorate the first flight, the Wright brothers, and North Carolina's role in this historic achievement. In 1998, the Foundation completed its first project cleaning, repairing, and restoring the Wright Monument at Wright Brothers National Memorial to its original grandeur. As part of this restoration, the beacon atop the monument was replaced and re-lit. The Foundation's approach stresses the broader historical context of the centennial, and future plans include upgrading the Visitors Center at the Memorial site and facilitating the development of December commemorations and celebrations at the park site. An Exhibit Master Plan for the museum has been completed, as well as an architectural functional design of the planned visitor center improvements.

Other activities in North Carolina are being planned by the Wilmington International Airport, which hopes to have aircraft from almost 200 countries participate in a "Parade of Nations" in December 2003, and the North Carolina Department of Aviation, which is developing "World of Flight 2003," a statewide managed tour of Kitty Hawk and North Carolina aviation in general, accompanied by special pilot education programs as well as activities for sport and military aviation.

Major planned centennial and related historical activities in Ohio were presented to the Commission by Inventing Flight, a Dayton, Ohio-based coalition of community leaders that is working with the National Park Service and local Congressional districts to preserve, enhance, and interpret the historic structures, districts, and artifacts associated with the unique heritage of aviation in the Dayton area. Inventing Flight is developing programming to take place throughout the year in five different areas: aviation, education, arts and culture, sports and the July 4-20 Centennial of Flight Celebration. The Centennial of Flight Celebration will be Dayton's and Ohio's peak event and will include venues at the United States Air Force Museum, the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, the Dayton International Airport and a central hub in downtown Dayton. Planned events include the Dayton Air Show, a "Living History" program circa 1903, the National Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinee Reunion and family educational activities.

Experimental Aircraft Association
As mentioned above, the EAA is a major grassroots aviation organization, and has a number of programs planned and underway in celebration of the centennial of powered flight. Most recently, the EAA was chosen by the National Park Service to serve as the planning and implementation organization for the Wright Brothers National Memorial December 2003 anniversary event. As part of their "Countdown to Kitty Hawk" the EAA will fly an authentic reproduction of the Wright 1903 Flyer. Built by the Virginia-based organization, The Wright Experience, the aircraft will take to the air at the Memorial at 10:35 AM on December, 17, 2003, providing an historical reconstruction - in the exact place and at the exact time, albeit one hundred years later - of the first flight. Other EAA-sponsored, centennial-related activities include the "Young Eagles" program, designed to reach out and give one million young people the chance to experience their first airplane ride by December 2003. (The tally to date is over 600,000 and counting.)

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