A B-1 bomber and 13 other jets roared across the Outer Banks at 10:35 a.m. Saturday, precisely the time Orville and Wilbur Wright took off on man's first powered air flight 85 years ago.
The Wright brothers' historic effort in 1903 lasted about 12 seconds. Saturday's salute rocked the countryside.The big bomber flew north over the National Wright Brothers Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, banked west and disappeared into the clouds.
"The B-1 Bomber was earth-shattering," said Lawrence Greco, park ranger and historian. "It flew about 1,000 feet at 400 mph and shook the ground."
F-14s also took part in the fly-over.
About 500 people gathered in freezing temperatures and snow for the 90-minute ceremony. Greco said the weather "didn't dampen the spirits at all."
Madge Barber, daughter of John Daniels who photographed the 12-second flight, attended the ceremony.
"It was a day of excitement and one that my father never forgot," she said.
Also attending was Elmer "Woody" Woodard, of Coinkjock, N.C., grandson of Kitty Hawk Postmaster Bill Tate, who opened his home to the Wright brothers when the two bicycle shop owners first moved to the Outer Banks from Dayton, Ohio.
Tribute was also paid to two female aviation pioneers.
A portrait of pilot Louise Thaden and her co-pilot, Blanche Noyes, who flew small planes cross country in the 1920s and 1930s, was unveiled at the memorial.
In 1936, the women were the first to win the Bendix trophy for flying from New York to Los Angeles in 14 hours and 55 minutes in a pioneer Beechcraft Model 17.