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Centennial of Flight:
Rediscovering the Challenges of Flight

Event Page

Contents of this page:

the wright brothers glider and the shuttle lauching
with permission from Nick Engler


December 17th, 2003, marks the 100th anniversary of manned powered flight. Wilbur and Orville Wright made their historic first flight on December 17, 1903.
NASA Quest's Centennial of Flight Project will be continuing to highlight the gifts that powered flight has brought to modern day life and the different people who have made a contributions to aerospace and aviation.

NASA Quest's Centennial of Flight project provides opportunities for live interactions with NASA scientists and engineers, aviators, and important figures in the history of flight including Orville and Wilbur Wright and Amelia Earhart (pretend: just for fun). Through webcasts, chats, biographies, background information and lesson plans the centennial of flight becomes a learning and inspirational opportunity for students.

New activities planned to continue until December 17, 2003.

Aero Expo IV: Centennial of Flight and a Date with the Wright Brothers.

Look back in time and relive the last 100 years of flight in this visit with the Wright Brothers. Talk about the future of flight and what part you might play in it. Ask the historic flyers your questions with the audience of 300 students at NASA Ames Research Center.

Following is a list of the activities to date; a rich source of reading materials and provocative activities.

AeroExpo III logo

Future Flight Technologies

2002 Centennial of Flight Presented Aero Expo III. The archive takes you on a trip to the Future! Check out what's on the horizon in the world of flight! Guest expert: Bob Jacobsen, Airspace Systems Program Director for NASA shared his insights on future flight technologies.


The Wright Again website will have video of the airfoils the Wright Brothers built to
test in their own wind tunnel and a model of their balance in the NASA Ames
Research Center Fluid Mechanics Laboratory research wind tunnel. See Wright Again Brochure


This April 23 - 25, 2002 event focused on women's contributions to the history and the future of aerospace. Meet women and men who work at NASA, private and commercial aviators and Amelia Earhart! They described their love of flight, science, engineering and technology.


This December, 2001 event celebrated the history of aviation. The Wright brothers were the first to achieve manned powered flight in December 1903. As we approach 2003, we begin to celebrate that we've been able to fly for almost 100 years! Distinguished African American aviators have made important contributions to the history of flight. NASA has a long history of contributions to airplane design research. Did you know that before NASA there was the National Advisory Committee for Aviation. Orville Wright was a member of that committee.
Have you ever thought about what life would be like without airplanes?


Research Methods: The Wright Brothers and NASA today:

This October, 2001 event looked at how the Wright brothers used scientific research methods, a wind tunnel and flight testing, to achieve their goals of manned and powered flight. NASA today also uses wind tunnels, and flight test, but we have new methods too like computer tools and simulators. NASA's goals are different too. Learn about the changes in time, money and safety of the research methods used by the Wright Brothers versus current methods.

Tune into the Centennial of Flight Web event activities and resources!

Attend webcasts. Chat with the Wright Brothers themselves. Share your experiences of flight in an online forum. Explore NASA resources using the Subject Sampler.

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Before the Web events

If you’ve never participated in a webcast or chat, review

During this Web event, you will learn about the contributions of women to aviation and aerospace. You will actually get to interact with some aviators and NASA experts by posting your questions in the chat room!

Your goal is to identify problems that women faced in the world of aviation and aerospace and the many different contributions they have made.

Before participating in the online events, please review the bio(s) of the person(s) you will be talking to so that you can ask good questions and so that you don’t ask them any questions that they’ve already answered.

Here are some example questions you might think about before the events.

Additional Lesson plans of interest for this event

Educator Resources

NASA Occupations Chat Lesson (pdf download)

Female Frontiers Lesson Plans

Susan Helms Webcast Archive (real media download)

Flying through Time Video


To participate in a webcast, chat or forum, click the "join" links on the calendar of events, where you can find dates and times.

If you can't attend the live event, post your questions ahead of time, and come back later to check the archive.

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