Media contact: Eden Hopkins

Marketing Communications Specialist


SEATTLE—From December 2002 through December 2003, The Museum of Flight will officially celebrate the centennial of the Wright brothers’ first powered flight, which occurred on December 17, 1903. Seattle-based aviation historians Peter M. Bowers and Mike Lavelle will kick off the yearlong series of special programs and events by sharing their perspectives on the beginnings of aviation. Their presentations are free with Museum admission.

“The 100 Years Before the Wrights”: A Presentation by Mike Lavelle

Saturday, December 7, 2:00 p.m.

Historian Mike Lavelle will survey the host of aviation pioneers from around the world whose work hastened the Wright brothers’ success. The brothers’ willingness to absorb the discoveries of others helped set them apart from the legion of earlier aeronautical dreamers and tinkerers and contributed to their ultimate achievement of the first successful powered, heavier-than-air flight. Much of the material for Lavelle’s presentation was gathered during a recent three-year sabbatical in Great Britain. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

“The Rise and Fall of the Wrights”: A Presentation by Peter M. Bowers

Saturday, December 14, 2:00 p.m.

Prolific author and historian Peter M. Bowers will examine how the Wrights went, in a very short period of time, from being the undisputed leaders in heavier-than-air aviation to embittered

also-rans as the young aviation industry passed them by. Bowers’ multimedia presentation will draw heavily on his storied personal collection of aircraft photos, representing not only every variant of the Wright machine but also the competitors’ craft that eclipsed the brothers in the marketplace. Bowers has written nearly 50 books and hundreds of magazine articles on aviation. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5, the Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $9.50 for adults, $8.50 for seniors 65 and older, $5 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free for all visitors from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit on the Web.

Note: Interview opportunities and high-resolution digital images of Peter M. Bowers and Mike Lavelle, as well as the Museum’s Centennial of Flight logo, are available. Please contact Eden Hopkins at 206-768-7105, or via e-mail at