North Carolina Centennial of Flight

1847
An unmanned balloon is released from Union Square to welcome James K. Polk.

1848
Chapel Hill students celebrate Zachary Taylor's election with a homemade paper balloon thirteen feet tall and eighteen feet in circumference.

1880s
Robert Henderson Roper of Washington County is the first American to jump from a balloon in a parachute of his own making.

1880-1881
Dr. Daniel Asbury builds a steam-driven airplane in Mecklenburg County

1902
Jake Hill of Stokes County builds a dirigible.

December 17,1903
The Wright Brothers conduct the first powered, heavier-than-air flights in Kitty Hawk.

1907
William Luther Paul of Carteret County claims to fly his Bumble Bee four to five feet into the air.

1908
William Christmas completes his Red Bird I.

1911
James S. Spainhour of Lenoir builds a monoplane.

June 21, 1913 Tiny Broadwick of Granville County becomes first woman to jump from an airplane.

1915
Forrest Wysong of Greensboro builds an airplane on the campus of present-day NC State University.

1919
Carr E. Booker of Wake County builds his Hummingbird.

October 1919
Belvin Maynard of Sampson County wins Double Transcontinental Aerial Derby

1924
Viola Gentry of Rockingham County becomes first woman in North Carolina to learn how to fly an airplane.

November 1942
Thomas Oxendine of Pembroke County becomes first Native American to graduate from U.S. Naval Academy.

1969
Warren Wheeler starts the Wheeler Flying Service in Raleigh, becoming the first African-American to establish and run a commercial air carrier.

1985
The Smithsonian Institute restores the original 1903 Wright Flyer.


For more information on North Carolina aviation, refer to Thomas Parramore's First to Fly.


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