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Do The Wright Thing

Kill Devil HillsHello, and greetings from The Outer Banks, North Carolina. I am on holiday. Vacation. Holiday. Bah … you know what I mean.

The Outer Banks (OBX) is a strip of narrow islands in the Atlantic, off the east coast of North Carolina. They stretch on for quite a length, are linked by bridges and ferries, and consist of a lot of sand dunes and beaches.

Actually, a lot of it is quite built up nowadays, and is a hell of a lot different to what it would have been like a few hundred years ago when Sir Walter Raleigh and his band of merry settlers pitched up from England in the 16th century.

You might have a better idea as to where I am if I tell you that Kitty Hawk is here (now called ‘Kill Devil Hills’) – the location of where The Wright Brothers made history by making the first flight in a powered aircraft ‘The Flyer’ back on the 17th December, just over a hundred years ago in 1903.

A few months ago, I commented on all South Carolinan license plates number plates having “Smiling faces, beautiful faces” on them. The slogan for North Carolina is “First in Flight”, all because of the Wright brothers.

We’re staying literally five minutes down the road from the visitor museum/attraction that is now on the site of where they made their first historic flight.

Wilbur and Orville Wright came here to pioneer the passage to the skies, as their home town in Ohio did not have suitable weather conditions. For many months they tested and improved upon kites, which turned into box kites, box gliders and gliders, slowly honing and improving their techniques and designs to make things fly in the air, until in 1903 they built an aeroplane – The Flyer – which in gusty winds of 27mph, flew Orville a grand distance of 120 feet in 12 seconds. The first powered flight by a heavier-than-air vehicle!

They took it in turns to make three more flights that day, go further each time, until Wilbur flew for just under a minute over a distance of 800 feet …

We stood out in the field this morning, where a replica ‘launch rail’ was planted in the ground, along with marker stones showing the exact position of where they had landed after each launch.

As a visitor attraction though, I was quite surprised. When you get used to everyone and everywhere in America going out of their way to help and service you, it’s a bit of a shock to the system to discover that when you’ve just walked up a steep hill and back on a hot day to a monument that there is nowhere to get a drink! Seriously! I was dying of thirst.

So Leigh & I collected our luggage, scooted through immigrations, avoided duty free and headed for the gas station down the road to pick up ice cold drinks. Yum.

So I’m on holiday. Vacation. Holiday. Whatever. And it’s the beach for me. And the pool. And the jacuzzi. And going for some bike rides. I even bought a kite to fly! I’m such a kid. Let’s hope I can keep it up for more than 12 seconds …

17 responses to “Do The Wright Thing”

  1. Mikey says:

    The chore of writing this blog? πŸ˜›

  2. Ross says:

    Dude – Don’t get us Kiwi’s started on who was the “First in Flight”.
    As per this link: http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/pearse1.html, and http://www.chiefengineer.org/content/content_display.cfm/seqnumber_content/1428.htm
    There is considerable debate as 2 whether it was actually a New Zealander.

    Enjoy the sun, sand and surf.

    PS – you should never admit to anyone that you can only keep it up for only 12 seconds!

  3. stroppycow says:

    *Awaits second wind jokes/comments…*

  4. TowerBlock Tina says:

    I thought Orville was a big duck?

  5. Paul says:

    Come back Keith Harris, all is forgiven!

  6. Mikey says:

    Btw, that is who Orville the duck is named after. He’s sort a mascot at work…so much so that we are considering going to portugal this year to see Keith and Orville at a club they are performing at for the summer.

  7. They’re banning liquids at the site of the world’s first flight now, are they? There’s modern aviation security for you.

  8. geofftech says:

    It’s because it’s a state owned attraction, and they don’t have the money to employ the manpower to go round clearing up all the inevitable soda cans that would get left lying around whether placed in the trash or not.

    It’s because it’s a state owned attraction, and they don’t have the money to employ the manpower to go round clearing up all the inevitable soft drink cans that would get left lying arond whether placed in rubbish bins or not.

    [take your pick]

  9. TowerBlock Tina says:

    #1 Even a layabout is entitled to a holiday, i.e. a different place to lie around. You’re only jealous!

  10. geofftech says:

    ‘scuse me? Who says I’ve been laying about ?!?!

  11. TowerBlock Tina says:

    Just a little irony there, as everyone assumes you are permanently on holiday, living near the beach,
    I know it’s not true. Can’t you take a joke Geoff? Show us a picture of you working then!

  12. dan says:

    Let’s hope I can keep it up for more than 12 seconds… said the Bishop to the Actress…

  13. 9. Many state-owned attractions in the US don’t have much money to keep up the maintenance. (Altho’ you’d surely expect more from Kitty Hawk, for heaven’s sake!) One of my favorite state-park beaches here in Hawaii has road so rough only 4WD can get through. Keeps it pristine tho’

    10. & 11. I can vouch that Geoff is working, I just sent him a check for a real paying job! Besides…Geoff //can// work lying about–he’s got a laptop!

  14. Paul says:

    #14 Its spelt C-H-E-Q-U-E-

  15. Steve says:

    If your going to play the american, then your all out of days for this year πŸ™‚

    //Wishes me worked for the french arm of my company, 40 days after a few years, wheeeeeeeee

  16. Can I be first to wish Geoff a happy birthday?

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