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This Day in Weather History: December 17th

Wright Brothers take flight after receiving help from the U.S. Weather Bureau

Courtesy of National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City, NC
Courtesy of National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City, NC

It was on this day in 1903 that Wilbur and Orville Wright made their famous flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Using their first powered aircraft, it was an experiment that would lead to the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. The initial flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet.

Courtesy of National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City, NC
Courtesy of National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City, NC

As you might imagine, weather played a role in the event. According to the National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City, NC, to figure out where was best to test their flying machine, the Wright Brothers wrote the U.S. Weather Bureau in Kitty Hawk. Joseph J. Dosher, who staffed the bureau, quickly wrote back to convince them that Kitty Hawk was an ideal spot. The letter, written in August of 1900, is shown below.

Courtesy of National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City, NC and the National Park Service
Courtesy of National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City, NC and the National Park Service

Dosher kept in contact with the Wright Brothers as their attempts continued over the next few years. On December 17, 1903, Orville used the Weather Bureau office to send a telegraph announcing the famous flight.


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