First Flight Centennial Pavilion Takes Off

Washington, D.C. - Jim Maddy, President of the National Park Foundation, announced today that the Foundation has received $100,000 from members of the American Airlines AAdvantage® travel awards program to support the First Flight Centennial Pavilion at Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina. American Airlines is a Proud Partner of America’s National Parks.

The First Flight Centennial Celebration, a year-long series of events kicking off this December and culminating in December 2003, will celebrate the milestone achieved by the Wright Brothers in December 1903, when they successfully flew the first powered aircraft across the sands of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Preserved as the Wright Brothers National Memorial, the site of that historic flight will serve as a primary location for many of the Centennial celebrations. Beginning in March 2003 visitors will be able to learn the story of innovation and perseverance that inspired that first flight at the new First Flight Centennial Pavilion.

“The National Park Foundation is thrilled to have American Airlines AAdvantage members’ support as Proud Partners of America’s National Parks,” said Maddy. “Through their generosity, the First Flight Centennial Pavilion will serve to inspire thousands of people to achieve their own dreams, just as the Wright Brothers did 100 years ago.”

As a Proud Partner of America’s National Parks, American Airlines is committed to reaching the American public and helping connect them to their National Parks. In addition to contributions by AAdvantage members in support of National Park programs, American is also educating millions of AAdvantage members about the richness and diversity of experiences available in National Parks, and challenging them to support the Parks in exchange for AAdvantage miles. Since American became a Proud Partner in November 2000, AAdvantage members have given nearly $1,500,000 to the National Park Foundation, and in return for their generosity, have earned 10 AAdvantage miles for each $1 donated ($10 is the minimum gift that earns miles).

“American Airlines is committed to spreading the word about our country’s greatest treasures - our National Parks,” said Ed French, president of AAdvantage Marketing Programs. “We are proud to join our AAdvantage members in supporting the First Flight Centennial celebrations, and hope that through this celebration others will learn about our country’s amazing aviation history and be inspired by the tremendous feat of the Wright Brothers.”


The generosity of the AAdvantage travel awards program members and the National Park Foundation will help fund both the Pavilion structure and an educational exhibit within the Pavilion entitled “Outer Banks at the Turn of the Century.” This exhibit will take visitors back in time to the Outer Banks of 1903 to learn how living in that area influenced the Wright Brothers and their work. Visitors will be able to view a recreation of the Wright Brothers’ early campsite as well as the Kitty Hawk Life Saving Station, where the brothers worked with local residents to conduct many of their experiments.

The First Flight Centennial Pavilion will be the centerpiece of the celebrations at Wright Brothers National Memorial to commemorate the 100th anniversary of flight, and will touch millions of visitors during its two- to four-year existence with special exhibits and programming. “We are pleased to have the support of American Airlines and AAdvantage members for the Pavilion” said Dick Howard, president of the First Flight Centennial Foundation board and member of the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission. “Not only are AAdvantage members part of the current celebration, but their generosity will also help secure additional funds through the Foundation’s U.S. Mint Commemorative Coin program, bringing additional support to enhance Wright Brothers National Memorial for the inspiration of future generations.”

The National Park Foundation (NPF) is the Congressionally chartered nonprofit partner of America’s National Parks. Created by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation strengthens the enduring connection between the American people and their National Parks by raising private funds, making strategic grants, creating innovative partnerships and increasing public awareness. Over the past six years NPF has raised $98 million in grants and program support for National Parks across the country. For more information, visit

American Airlines is the world’s largest airline. Together with its regional affiliates American Eagle and AmericanConnection, American Airlines serves more than 250 cities in 41 countries and territories with approximately 4,400 daily flights.

American’s AAdvantage Travel Awards Program - the first and largest of its kind - began in 1981 with 283,000 members and has grown to more than 45 million members worldwide. The AAdvantage program has more U.S. fliers than any other frequent traveler program, and it provides more opportunities to redeem miles than any other program. Additional information may be found at or by calling AAdvantage Reservations/Customer Service toll-free at 800-882-8880.

About First Flight Centennial Foundation; The First Flight Centennial Foundation, a non-profit organization, was formed in North Carolina to celebrate the 100th anniversary of powered flight.  The Foundation’s objectives include: improving Wright Brothers National Memorial, helping produce the First Flight Centennial event on site in December 2003, and sharing the story of the Wright brothers and their achievements through events and activities. For more information on the Foundation, visit