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First in Flight – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the First Hang Glider Flight at Grandfather Mountain

July 27, 2024 @10:00 am - 3:30 pm

Two iconic North Carolina attractions and businesses celebrate the flight of John Harris, founder of Kitty Hawk Kites, with programming, a panel discussion and fun. All activities are open to Grandfather Mountain guests on July 27. It is recommended that folks book tickets in advance at grandfather.com. Outdoor elements of this event are weather permitting. Flying a kite in MacRae Meadows between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. does not require a ticket to the park.

Event Schedule:
All Day | “Hang Gliding at Grandfather” Photo Gallery | Outside the Classroom in the Clouds in the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery
Enjoy historical images from hang gliding events at Grandfather Mountain from the Hugh Morton Collection of Films and Photographs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Hang Gliding Films Showing | Leonard and Morton Classrooms in the Wilson Center
Stop in to enjoy a rotation of hang gliding films shot and produced by Grandfather Mountain founder Hugh Morton.

10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Gliders on Display | Various locations in the park
Kitty Hawk Kites will have colorful gliders on display at various spots along the park road. While the majority of the aircrafts will not be accessible for guests to get close to, a ground-mounted glider will be set up near the Williams Outdoor Learning Space, located next to the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery. Guests will be able to strap into the glider to get a feel for how to move around in the apparatus. Please note: There will be no actual hang glider flights from the mountain during this celebration.

10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Build-a-Kite Station | Second floor of the Top Shop
Build and design a kite fit for a mile-high view with kits from Kitty Hawk Kites! As supplies last, each child coming through the Grandfather Mountain entrance gate will receive a free paper kite kit. Those guests should go to the Top Shop during the event to build the kite and decorate it.

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Let’s Go Fly a Kite! | Top Shop parking lot (designated kite area)
Guests will be allowed to fly their paper kites from this designated area located near the Mile High Swinging Bridge (weather permitting). (Flying any kites, other than the paper kites made at the event, is prohibited inside the park.)

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Fly a Kite in MacRae Meadows | Located just south of the gates of Grandfather Mountain on U.S. 221
MacRae Meadows will be open to foot traffic during the day’s celebration for kite flying! Bringing a personal kite to fly at MacRae Meadows is permitted for this event. (No Grandfather Mountain admission is required for this activity. Please park in the gravel lot across 221 and walk across the road. Blocking the gates into MacRae Meadows is prohibited.)

11 – 11:30 a.m. | Random Acts of Science | Wilson Center for Nature Discovery
This daily program led by Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation (GMSF) staff educators will make thematic ties to the day’s celebration, such as the science behind thermals, animals that take advantage of Grandfather’s cliffs and the weather the mountain creates.

11:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Most-Creative Kite Contest Award | Top Shop parking lot (designated kite area)
Representatives from GMSF and Kitty Hawk Kites will pick their favorite kite designs. Three winners will be selected and will receive a gift basket with items from the two organizations.

12 – 12:30 p.m. | Random Acts of Science | Wilson Center for Nature Discovery
This daily program led by GMSF staff educators will make thematic ties to the day’s celebration, such as the science behind thermals, animals that take advantage of Grandfather’s cliffs and the weather the mountain creates.

1 – 1:30 p.m. | Peaks and Profiles | Near the Mile High Swinging Bridge
This daily program led by GMSF staff educators gets a first-flight twist and will include themes like the science behind why Grandfather Mountain was a good place to hang glide. A representative from Kitty Hawk Kites will also be around to answer questions about hang gliding.

1 – 2 p.m. | “Grandfather’s First Flight” Panel Discussion | Leonard and Morton Classrooms in the Wilson Center
A walk down memory lane to the time of the first flight and other hang gliding events at Grandfather Mountain. Panel (moderated by GMSF President and Executive Director Jesse Pope) to include:

  • John Harris (first flight hang gliding pilot at Grandfather Mountain and founder of Kitty Hawk Kites)
  • Catherine Morton (GMSF board member and daughter of Grandfather Mountain founder Hugh Morton)
  • Harris Prevost (Grandfather Mountain former vice president)

2 – 2:30 p.m. | Anniversary Cake | Leonard and Morton Classrooms in the Wilson Center
After the panel discussion, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first flight with a slice of cake (while supplies last). Panel participants will be on hand to interact with attendees. (Rain location: Wilson Center lobby)

2 – 2:30 p.m. | Random Acts of Science | Wilson Center for Nature Discovery
This daily program led by GMSF staff educators will make thematic ties to the day’s celebration, such as the science behind thermals, animals that take advantage of Grandfather’s cliffs and the weather the mountain creates.

3 – 3:30 p.m. | Peaks and Profiles With John Harris | Near the Mile High Swinging Bridge
This daily program led by GMSF staff educators gets a first-flight twist and will include themes like the science behind why Grandfather Mountain was a good place to hang glide. John Harris will join the program to share his firsthand account of flying off the peak.

Details

Date:
July 27, 2024
Time:
10:00 am - 3:30 pm
Event Category:

Grandfather Mountain | Home to the Swinging Bridge, Animal Habitats and Nature Museum

GPS: 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646
Mailing: PO Box 129, Linville, NC 28646
1-800-468-7325

Owned & operated by Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.
Go here for Grandfather Mountain State Park information.
Member of Southern Highlands Attractions