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First Flight Foundation Donates Funds for Reproduction 1911 Wright Glider

A full-scale reproduction of the glider that Orville Wright and British aviator Alexander Ogilvie flew at Kill Devil Hills in 1911 now soars inside the entrance at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. The object is based on the glider the men used from Oct. 16 to 26 to make nearly 100 test glides. On Oct. 24, Wright made a flight of 9 minutes and 45 seconds into the face of a 45-mph gale, setting a record that stood for 10 years.

With a 32-foot wingspan, the new addition to the N.C. Museum of History was made possible with funds from the First Flight Foundation in Kitty Hawk. On March 20, 2014, Will Plentl, president of the foundation, presented a $150,000 check to Lyl Clinard, chair of the N.C. Museum of History Foundation Board, to cover the cost of the glider.

 “With our gift today, the North Carolina Museum of History begins the process to share with all their visitors all the years of work by the Wrights in North Carolina between 1901 and 1911,” says Plentl. “The combined efforts of the work in Dayton and the work, as well as studies, on the Outer Banks moved the world into the aviation era.”

Special guest Amanda Wright Lane, great-grandniece of the Wright brothers, attended the check presentation. Sharing a connection to the past, Clinard gave Lane a photograph of her grandfather, North Carolina governor Angus W. McLean, with Orville Wright. The photo was taken on Dec. 17, 1928, in Kitty Hawk at the 25th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight on Dec. 17, 1903.

The Wright brothers achieved the world’s first powered, heavier-than-air, manned, controlled, and sustained flight. A reproduction of the 1903 Wright flyer is featured in the exhibit The Story of North Carolina.

 “The 1911 glider will help us tell more of the Wright brothers’ story in North Carolina,” remarks Ken Howard, museum director. “We are grateful to the First Flight Foundation for this generous contribution. Hundreds of thousands of museum visitors will see the glider each year and learn more about this important part of our state’s history.”

Adds Lane, “I am overwhelmed that the North Carolina Museum of History values the complete story of the Wright brothers’ work in North Carolina. Their work here changed the world, and it is our joint story to tell.”

Rick and Sue Young of Chesterfield, Va., spent two years meticulously researching and constructing the 1911 glider. It is the 19th Wright reproduction they have designed and built.

 “It’s really an honor to be able to expand on the Wright brothers’ achievements in the heart of Carolina,” notes Rick. “They did far more than the first flight; they created the industry of aviation.”

The First Flight Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to champion the Wright brothers’ legacy. The foundation staged and presented the First Flight Centennial in 2003 and the Soaring 100 (Oct. 21-24, 2011), the International Centennial of Orville Wright’s 1911 world-record glider flight.

The installation of the 1911 glider is a wonderful way to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the museum’s current building at 5 East Edenton Street. The building opened on April 23, 1994, with celebrations that included a flyover of vintage and modern aircraft.

Amanda Wright Lane:
Lane’s great-grandfather was Lorin Wright, brother of Orville and Wilbur. As a Wright family spokesperson, Lane consults with researchers and academics who are working to preserve the legacy of the Wright brothers, gives lectures on her family’s history, and works with state officials in both North Carolina and Ohio to raise awareness for the two national parks in the United States dedicated to telling the story of the Wright brothers. Lane is a trustee for the Wright Family Foundation of the Dayton Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable fund.

For information about the Museum of History, call 919-807-7900 or access or follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or YouTube.

About the N.C. Museum of History: The N.C. Museum of History is located at 5 E. Edenton Street in downtown Raleigh. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The museum collects and preserves artifacts of North Carolina history and educates the public on the history of the state and the nation through exhibits and educational programs. Each year more than 300,000 people visit the museum to see some of the 150,000 artifacts in the museum collection. The Museum of History, within the Division of State History Museums, is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.