While the 20th century has long been over, what happened over those hundred years won’t soon be forgotten. Mechanical technology was awe-inspiring for many, none more so than the Wright Brothers. The Brothers made a place most grade-school kids know about famous—Kitty Hawk.

Why Kitty Hawk?

Orville and Wilbur Wright are credited with inventing, building, and finally test flying the first controlled human flight. Although Orville Wright was the official “test pilot,” human-controlled flight had been on the minds of many at the time.

Kitty Hawk is a small-town in Dare County, North Carolina. Many know Kitty Hawk as the place where the official test flight took place. The time is even recorded as December 17, 10:35 am because there were witnesses. In 1903 Kitty Hawk was the closest town. Today, the place is called Kill Devil Hills.

The Local Boys

The Wright Brothers were “local boys,” as the local newspapers called them. As a result, many knew they were trying to invent something that could fly. A popular saying at the time was “heavier than air.” Fitting, because most thought they were crazy. They spent several years testing and experimenting on various combinations of gliders and bicycle parts.

The Wright Brothers chose Kill Devils Hills because of the winds. Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills are part of North Carolina’s outer banks, a wind-swept spit of sand reaching north and exposed to the full Atlantic Ocean.

The name for the plane piloted by Orville Wright that day was the Wright Flyer.