Even before it became the Coast Guard, one of the service’s predecessor organizations was fostering the development of aviation in the United States. In 1900, Ohio’s Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, began experiments with gliders at Kitty Hawk on North Carolina’s outer banks. The locale was useful for the tests because of its terrain and winds. Also, fortuitously, it was only a mile or so from the Kill Devil Hills Life Saving Station. Surfmen from the station provided logistic help for the brothers, both with the gliders and with the first powered flight on 17 December 1903. One of the lifesavers, John Daniels, took the only photo of that 1903 flight.
A Century in the Air
By Paul Stillwell