Pilot Training for the Historic Re-Creation of the Wright Brothers' First Flight Enters Important Stage

Private Training Session Scheduled for Oct. 8, 2003

Oct 03, 2003, 01:00 ET from Experimental Aircraft Association

    WARRENTON, Va., Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- With less than 80 days remaining
 before the recreation of the Wright brothers' historic first flight, intensive
 pilot training is underway for the individuals who will attempt to re-create
     Terry Queijo and Kevin Kochersberger along with their backup crew are
 following in the footsteps of the Wrights by training in a 1902 Wright glider
 reproduction, an authentic copy of the aircraft used by the Wright brothers at
 the turn of the century to test their seminal theories of flight.  The
 training is taking place along a grass landing strip in Warrenton, Va., home
 base for The Wright Experience, builders of the Experimental Aircraft
 Association's (EAA) 1903 Wright flyer reproduction.  So, instead of taking
 advantage of the consistent winds of the Outer Banks, N.C., the pilots here in
 Warrenton are towed down the 2,100-foot grass landing strip for flights that
 take less than 60 seconds.
     As part of EAA's Countdown to Kitty Hawk program this Dec. 17 near the
 dunes of Kitty Hawk, N.C., one of the pilots will lie down across the lower
 wing and attempt a feat that hasn't happened in 100 years.  Training for this
 historic feat is being led by legendary aviation pioneer Scott Crossfield, the
 first man to fly at both Mach 2 and Mach 3, and director of pilot training for
 The Wright Experience.
     "This is the most critical stage of the training that we have been
 involved with over the past year," said Crossfield.  "Our pilots are working
 with an unpowered glider that has been modified so that it has all the
 characteristics of the powered 1903 flyer.  It's essential that the pilots
 fully comprehend just how unstable this aircraft will be before we undertake
 powered flights."
     At EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2003, Crossfield narrowed the list of four
 pilots down to two.  Just as the Wrights did in 1903, Queijo and Kochersberger
 will flip a coin to determine who will fly first.  American Airlines pilot
 Chris Johnson and Ken Hyde, president of The Wright Experience, will serve as
 the backup crew and will continue to participate in the training.
     Hyde said the training has been delayed due to very wet weather in
 Warrenton.  As a result, training has intensified over the last month.  "We
 have made a lot of progress in a very short time," he added.
     "This training is critical because our modern day pilots need to unlearn
 everything they have been taught about flying in order to control the 1903
 Wright flyer," said Rich Milburn, corporate director, special projects, of
 Northrop Grumman Corporation, sponsor of the flight training.  "This glider
 has been reconfigured, so that it responds to the pilot's inputs precisely as
 the 1903 flyer will when the historic attempt is made this December near Kitty
 Hawk, N.C."
     The Wright Experience is under contract with The Discovery of Flight
 Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to rediscover the Wright
 brothers' aviation breakthroughs.  Hyde and his team aim to celebrate the
 achievements of Wilbur and Orville Wright by researching, reconstructing,
 testing, analyzing and documenting authentic full-scale reproductions of the
 Wright brothers' developmental aircraft and engines.  The dedicated group of
 craftsmen and volunteers has been researching every aspect of the 1903
 airplane for the past decade.  The Wright Experience is recognized by the
 Wright Family Foundation as builders of a flyable authentic 1903 Wright Flyer
     More than just celebrating the monumental technological achievement of
 powered flight, The Wright Experience also seeks to gain insights into the
 creative spirit, scientific methods and developmental process employed by the
 intrepid bicycle mechanics from Dayton.  "Today we see the magnificent
 evolution of the Wrights' original efforts," Hyde said.  "Our quest is to
 discover how the first steps were made -- steps that are lost in history.  We
 are confident that we will retrace those steps and finish the first century of
 flight as it began, by flying over the sands of Kitty Hawk.  It will be an
 amazing end to a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of both the realization of
 dreams and the freedom of flight."
     The National Park Service has issued a special use permit, making EAA's
 1903 Wright flyer the only airplane permitted to fly over that hallowed ground
 near Big Kill Devil Hills.  The 1903 Wright flyer reproduction serves as the
 centerpiece of EAA's Countdown to Kitty Hawk, presented by Ford Motor Company.
     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, Eclipse Aviation and Northrop Grumman Corporation.  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 built by The Wright Experience.  The
 countdown will culminate with the re-enactment of the Wright brothers' first
 flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Dec. 17, 2003 -- exactly 100 years later.  For
 more information see www.countdowntokittyhawk.com, www.wrightexperience.com,
 www.discoveryofflight.org, www.firstflightcentennial.org or

SOURCE Experimental Aircraft Association