From OBX to Mars: Outer Banks Forever to livestream special National Aviation Day programs at Wright Brothers National Memorial

Outer Banks Forever, the official nonprofit partner of the three Outer Banks national parks, and the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau will jointly livestream two special National Aviation Day programs at Wright Brothers National Memorial on Friday, Aug. 19, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. (ET). All are invited to join this online celebration and learn how the Wright brothers’ legacy continues to influence technology and innovation today.

At 11 a.m., Dr. J. “Bob” Balaram, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will speak about the development of NASA’s “Ingenuity” Mars Helicopter. Dr. Balaram is the originator of the concept that eventually became “Ingenuity” and served as its chief engineer during its development, test and operations. “Ingenuity” took flight from the surface of Mars on April 19, 2021, making history by completing the first powered flight on another planet. Described as a “Wright Brothers moment,” this first flight marks the continuation of aviation achievements in the legacy of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first heavier-than-air powered flight in the Outer Banks on Dec. 17, 1903.

“Our National Park Service staff here in the Outer Banks has made this exciting collaboration with NASA possible, and we are thrilled to share this celebration of innovation with those who may not be able join us in person on National Aviation Day,” said Jessica Barnes, Director of Outer Banks Forever.

Fifteen minutes after the completion of Dr. Balaram’s program, a team from AeroVironment, Inc., the developers of the “Ingenuity’s” rotor system, landing gear and fuselage structure, will demonstrate a working, flying model of “Ingenuity” for the public in the Flight Room of the park’s Visitor Center. Outer Banks Forever will livestream this demonstration as well.

To join the National Aviation Day livestream event, visit Outer Banks Forever’s Facebook page.

To learn more about National Aviation Day celebrations in the Outer Banks, click here.