First Flight With Mike Manseca


Tell us about how you started. First flight dot org because this is really obviously. You've you've been to kitty hawk. Many times Tell us what your first time going there. Well my first time was. I couldn't even tell you how old it was as a kid and it actually was with my dad the outer banks always ended up being a place we would go for vacations. I like for instance when i graduated from high school. Joe double hills is where we went for our Graduation party week. Whatever you wanna call it But i've been there before and my family. And i now go actually. I live in richmond. Virginia right now uh-huh even though i'm the head of an organization is down in kitty hawk north carolina but For probably about the last twenty years. We've gone every august for for summer vacation. 'cause we discovered as vacation place all those years ago and we just love. It can't think of a better place to go on vacation so we still do it now when you were a kid and you went there did the significance of the location of the you realize the significance of the location or was it just a a neat place to go for vacation. No no i completely did and much chagrin the rest of my family. They didn't look at me. Like how many times can you go to the same place you know what changes nothing changes. But i. i don't care. It's like a pilgrimage to go to the wright brothers national memorial to go to the park to see where that first powered flight happened and i'm a fanatic about it since i was a kid and when two thousand and three came around and i knew it was going to be one hundredth anniversary of flight trying to figure out. How am i going to get. I'm gonna get down there. Because i had a job. It's in december and then as it turns out my wife said. Hey i put for your birthday put together a trip for you and your dad to go down and spend a couple of days at kitty hawk and be there on the seventeenth and she'd actually only set up for a couple of days and my dad said well. This is wonderful but if we're going to go we might as well go for the whole time. And i think it was a five day celebration so worked it all out. I begged my boss to please have a couple of extra days off and We were there for all the days of celebration. And i have to tell you there was nothing never been anything like it. I don't know if i don't know if you've ever been to any of the celebrations but that one and of course was worldwide as far as the publicity for it but i can't remember how many people they said were there but the thing about it is i saw every kind of playing you can think of especially military plane fly over during those days. 'cause there was an air show every day and let's see also saw a lot of famous aviation people so the great thing was being able to see. Neil armstrong john glenn bob who hoover patty wag staff any number of people who were being honored that week And then on the actual seventeenth john travolta introduce president george w bush and he made a speech on the seventeenth of course out of all those days. Which day was the ugly rainy day. Yes it was the seventeenth. It was cold. It was rainy The attempt to do the flight at ten thirty five did not go off like it was supposed to. But i was so glad that i was there so now. I'm just curious. And i don't know the answer to this question. The wright brothers choose that location because they were building the airplane in dayton. Is that correct. That is correct. Actually wilbur wrote to the national weather service. And said hey. We're looking for replace. That has a lot of wind and his isolated and they could do their experiments in in private. Kitty hawk was a bonus because all the sand dunes. Which makes it a lot easier if you have an accident while you're trying to fly instead of trying to land on hard ground Which is essentially what they had in ohio flat hard ground right so they had gotten a number of different places they could try and they went ahead and wrote to the postmaster down in kittyhawk in he basically said hey. If you come down here. We'll do everything we can to help you find a pleasant group of people and we look forward to it so they basically took them up on that offer. So now when did you. Did you start the first flight organization. No no no under current president but the first flight organization or now you got me saying it's the first flight society actually started in nineteen twenty seven as the kill devil hills memorial creation. I hope i said that right. It's changed names a few times but yes Nine thousand twenty seven kill devil hills memorial association basically what it was was a group of about forty six businessmen put together by a newspaper publisher named W sunders who said hey. Let's let's this an important place. Let's get a memorial built. You know and this is something that would be seeing nationwide and would also you know side benefit is would be reason for people to come and visit each daughter bax back. At that time there was no bridge over to the outer banks from the mainland. You had to take a boat a really. Oh yeah you know. And that was the same. As in the time of the wright brothers. They had to take boats with crates of all their parts for their their planes and it was quite the trip and and even the first when they were building the memorial and people were coming down and they were dedicating. It was a heck of a trip train rides boat rides. You know wasn't like let's just get on a plane. Fly there because even at that time it was pretty it was just. There wasn't a lot of people just going to go up and

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