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Experimental Aircraft Association Unveils 1903 Wright Flyer Reproduction to Kick Off Countdown to Kitty Hawk Tour
Flyer Will Re-Enact the Wright Brothers First Flight on December 17, 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C. , (March 18, 2003) - With the countdown clock ticking to the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first powered flight, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) today unveiled its 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction in a ceremony at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

As the world's most accurate re-creation of the original Wright Flyer, EAA's Flyer reproduction will re-enact the Wright brothers' first flight 100 years to the minute on Dec. 17, 2003, in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Prior to this historic event, EAA's 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction also will serve as the centerpiece of EAA's Countdown to Kitty Hawk touring pavilion. The 24,000 square-foot exposition will celebrate the Wrights' first flight with displays on the Wright brothers, aviation history and aviation innovations along with activities for youth.

With Amanda Wright Lane and her brother Stephen Wright, both relatives of Wilbur and Orville Wright, looking on, EAA and its sponsors for Countdown to Kitty Hawk rolled out the 605-pound aircraft handmade primarily of wood, steel and muslin.

EAA President Tom Poberezny addresses the audience at Reagan National Airport, March 18th, with the EAA reproduction of the 1903 Wright Flyer in the background.

"The eyes of the world will be on EAA's Wright Flyer this coming Dec. 17 as we attempt to re-create the Wright brothers' first-powered flight on the dunes of North Carolina," said EAA President and U.S. Centennial of Flight Commissioner Tom Poberezny. "This Wright Flyer reproduction represents a long-standing commitment by EAA and its partners to preserve the Wright brothers' legacy and their unbridled spirit of innovation that forever changed our world."

Ken Hyde, of Warrenton, Va.-based The Wright Experience, the organization that built EAA's Flyer, said, "It's pretty easy to build a Wright Flyer replica that looks like the first plane, but it's very difficult to build one that is an exact reproduction. Building this Flyer was the ultimate reverse engineering job with a major catch - we had to ignore what we had learned over the past 100 years and embrace the Wright brothers' way of thinking."

Also during today's event, Ford Motor Company, the presenting sponsor for EAA's Countdown to Kitty Hawk, unveiled its new 2003 Lincoln Aviator Kitty Hawk Edition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of flight and Henry Ford's contributions to aviation history. Like the first-powered flight, the automaker is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year as well.

Kids try their hand (and hips) at EAA's Wright flyer simulator, which is powered by Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Jan Valentic, vice president of global marketing for Ford Motor Company, said, "We're celebrating the Wright brothers' spirit of innovation with our Lincoln Aviator Kitty Hawk Edition. With Henry Ford's strong ties to aviation history, we see Countdown to Kitty Hawk as an opportunity to focus on the progress in both automotive and aviation transportation over the past century."

Ford Motor Company, EAA and Discovery Channel also announced a partnership to create documentaries to celebrate the impact of the Wrights' first flight on the world, as well as to explore Ford Motor Company's crucial role in aviation history and the ingenuity of Henry Ford as he brought affordable ground and air transportation to the masses. Plans include a live telecast from the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., on Dec. 17, 2003.


Aviation legend Scott Crossfield, center, attended the grand unveiling March 18.

Another sponsor, "Microsoft Flight Simulator," also demonstrated a 1903 Wright Flyer virtual cradle to accompany its upcoming "Microsoft® Flight Simulator: A Century of Flight" software program. The cradles, which will be part of the touring pavilion, allow would-be pilots to operate the "aircraft" from a horizontal hip cradle, using hand levers and a shifting hip mechanism to control virtual takeoffs and landings in front of a giant panoramic projection screen. Eclipse Aviation is also a supporting sponsor of the program.

Countdown to Kitty Hawk partners include Flying Magazine, Library of Congress, National Park Service, First Flight Centennial Commission and Inventing Flight.

EAA also announced the addition of a Countdown to Kitty Hawk tour stop at the National Business Aviation Association's 56th Annual Meeting & Convention in Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 7-9, 2003.

Additional tour stops include:

April 2 - 8, 2003 Sun N' Fun EAA Fly-In, in Lakeland, Fla.
June 13 - 16, 2003 Ford Motor Company's 100th Anniversary Celebration in Dearborn, Mich.
July 3 - 20, 2003 Inventing Flight: Dayton 2003 in Dayton, Ohio
July 29 - Aug. 4, 2003 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in Oshkosh, Wis.
Aug. 23 - Sept. 1, 2003 Museum of Flight in Seattle, Wash.
Dec. 12 - 17, 2003 First Flight Centennial Celebration in Kitty Hawk, N.C.

In early 2004, EAA's 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction will become part of a new aviation display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.

About EAA
EAA, the leader in recreational aviation, is an international association with 170,000 members and more than 1,000 local chapters. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or explore EAA's Web site .

About EAA's "Countdown to Kitty Hawk Presented By Ford Motor Company"
EAA's Countdown to Kitty Hawk is a centennial celebration of the Wright brothers' first powered flight - an innovation that forever changed our world. Led by EAA, presented by Ford Motor Company, and supported by Microsoft Flight Simulator and Eclipse Aviation, this yearlong series of inspirational events honors the innovation and determination it takes to make world-changing dreams a reality. "Countdown to Kitty Hawk" features an interactive touring pavilion and the world's most accurate 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction that will exclusively re-enact the Wright brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Dec. 17, 2003 - exactly 100 years later. For more information regarding the program, check the official "Countdown to Kitty Hawk" Web site.


Randal Dietrich
EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk - Executive Director
Jonathan Rhudy – CRT PR

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