join us on facebook
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

First to Fly North Carolina and the Beginnings of Aviation by Thomas C. Parramore

First to Fly North Carolina and the Beginnings of Aviation


First to Fly North Carolina and the Beginnings of Aviation by Thomas C. Parramore

A remarkable story filled with dreamers, inventors, scoundrels and pioneering pilots, First to Fly recounts North Carolina's significant role in the early history of aviation. Beginning well before the Wright brothers' first powered flight in Devil Hill in 1903, North Carolinians laboured at the cutting edge of aviation technology from the late 1800s through World War I. North Carolina was a launching ground for real and imaginary ballooning adventures as early as 1789. Powered experiments, including what seems to have been America's first airplane, gained momentum in the late-19th century. Tar Heel mechanics and inventors also built a dirigible and, arguably, the world's first successful helicopter. Tom Parramore's account of the Wright brothers' experiments and turn-of-the-century Dare County provides new information on the crucial role of Outer Bankers in ensuring Wrights' success. Without their aid, he argues, it is unlikely that the miracle of flight would have been first achieved in 1903 - or in America. After 1903, growth in the new aviation industry, spurred by World War I, outpaced North Carolina's ability to play a major role. But the state produced some of the most notable airmen and women of the era, furnishing hundreds of pilots to the war effort.


A fascinating tale of American ingenuity, bravery, and determination. - American History; A delight of Thomas C. Parramore's First to Fly is its movement from one good story to another, its lack of aeronautical jargon, and its dependence on character and tale to offer engaging history.... Parramore has discovered a buried North Carolina aviation legacy. - Clyde Edgerton, Raleigh News & Observer; Parramore easily achieves his goal of convincing the reader that North Carolina and North Carolinians played a considerable role in the early history of flight. - Thomas D. Crouch, Senior Curator, National Air and Space Museum

About the Author

THOMAS C. PARRAMORE is professor of history emeritus at Meredith College in Raleigh and author, most recently, of Norfolk: The First Four Centuries.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

31st March 2003


Thomas C. Parramore

More books by Thomas C. Parramore
Author 'Like for Like'


The University of North Carolina Press


388 pages


Aerospace & aviation technology
Aircraft: general interest
History of engineering & technology
History of the Americas
Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900
20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000



Ever purchased a book, read a few pages & thought I'm not going to enjoy this? Honest book reviews mean you'll never have that problem again

Jill Peters

Lovereading is a wonderful way to expand my literary horizons, discover inspiring authors & get the chance to read new novels first. #loveit

Zarina de Ruiter

My horizons have been broadened by some of the books I have been lucky to review and I expect it to be no different in the future.

Daran Bellingham

The books for review are always great reads, brilliantly written, and introduces me to a huge variety of, established and new, authors.

Lesley Hart

The selections are so varied and the reader reviews are so helpful. A fantastic website for those who love books.

Ann Quintilla

I read new, exciting writers and established authors before publication and there is a great website full of brilliant books and opinions.


You'll always find what you never knew you were looking for and you're always spoilt for choice.

Helen Jones

It's a lively, independent website with reviews, recommendations and more - with a huge range of books available to buy in all formats.

Alison Layland