Wright Brothers National Memorial - Kill Devil Hills, NC

If you ever want to make a flight to as cool a destination as a pilot could fly to, put the Wright Brothers National Memorial at First Flight airport on your bucket list.

By all means, check out the monument, but you must see the First Flight Boulder and Flight Line, where you can walk the path of those four flights on December 17th, 1903. The first of which, you all know the story:

Orville at the controls, Wilbur running alongside in John Daniels' iconic picture below, 10:35am, 120 feet, 12 seconds, 7 mph groundspeed…But for the first time, a manned, heavier-than-air machine left the ground by its own power, moved forward under control without losing speed, and landed on a point as high as that from which it started.

Gives me chills.

I would encourage any pilot to fly into First Flight airport (FFA) and experience it first-hand. First Flight airstrip, as it was originally known, was dedicated on the sixtieth anniversary celebration in 1963. Information on the airport can be found in our online directory here - 

The airport is closed 30 minutes after sunset till 30 minutes before sunrise. Parking is limited to 24 hours and two overnight stays per month. Also, there is no fuel or standard FBO-type services, so plan accordingly. The pilot facility is accessible by "squawking VFR" to access. 

Though originally built and owned by AOPA, the National Park Service now owns and operates the pilot facility at the airport. While the building is accessible any time the airport is open, the restroom facilities immediately adjacent outside are on the Park schedule of 9 am to 5 pm. Before and after which, the doors are locked by Park maintenance. Keep that in mind for your planning as well. The Park is closed only on Christmas day. Click the pic below for all the details:

If you have already visited this special place, let us know about your visit. And, if you visit sometime in the future, come back and leave a Pirep here.

4 Replies

I concur.  When I taught out of Hampton Roads Executive Airport (PVG) it was always a dual cross-country flight with my students.  Since it was a special place to visit we planned for at least half a day.  If you are hungry, there is a Dairy Queen within a short walk located on the bypass.    

I did that while I was on a layover at Newport News, checked out in a 172 and flew to KFFA. That was on my bucket list and was well worth it.

I've flown into KFFA many times with my Maule over the last 20 years. It's usually windy so watch the crosswind. I often bring a folding bicycle since the beach is close but a bit of a walk. They used to conduct air tours from here but some accidents by the tour operator caused them to cancel them years ago. Now the air tours originate at Dare County airport in Manteo. KFFA's runway is next to the Wright Brothers museum and memorial. Quite a sight!

my pirep is decades old, but fortunately, not much has changed.  
My “long solo” XC as a student was from chapel hill (unfortunately an airport which has subsequently fallen to nimby pressure) to Dare county for a fuel stop (it’s still a good one, from my reading- closest airport to FFA) 

FFA is a well maintained strip.   Short walk to the very worthwhile displays- the reconstructed 1903 camp buildings, the flight room with a 1903 Wright flyer replica, etc.  
not much else in short walking distance.  A somewhat unique activity in Kitty hawk is hang glider instruction.  

KFFA is a must do, IMO


for outer banks fans, easy to overfly the banks and use the NPS strips at Hatteras and ocracoke.  Lots of restaurants, hotels etc a short walk from former.  Latter is further from the village.