October 12, 2011
By Jill W. Tallman
For nine minutes and 45 seconds on Oct. 24, 1911, Orville Wright piloted a glider above the dunes of Kill Devil Hills, N.C. One hundred years later, aviation enthusiasts will gather there to celebrate that record-setting flight.
Wright’s record held for nearly 10 years, and started the sport and science of modern soaring, according to the First Flight Foundation.
Soaring 100 will take place Oct. 21 through 24 at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., and at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head, N.C. The event will feature special presentations on the history of soaring and hang gliding as well as displays and exhibits that include a 1911 Wright Glider replica and sailplane and hang gliding simulators.
On Oct. 22, 23, and 24, a Flying Showcase will enable sailplane and glider pilots to take off, with tows, from First Flight Airport, and they will be permitted to land on the grounds of the national memorial. The sailplanes and hang gliders will be moved to a static display after each showcase.
Partnering with the First Flight Foundation to host the event are the Soaring Society of America, the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, the National Soaring Museum, the Vintage Sailplane Association, the Foundation for Free Flight, and the Rogallo Foundation, the First Flight Society, and the Academy of Model Aeronautics.
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.
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