Introducing the 2022 First Flight Society Board of Directors

KITTY HAWK, N.C.January 13, 2022 — The First Flight Society would like to announce its Board of Directors for 2022. Most of the directors are from North Carolina.

The newly elected Executive Committee consists of:

President-Mike Fonseca
1st Vice President-Dr Charles Davidson
2nd Vice President-William “Bill” Douglas
Treasurer-H Taylor Sugg
Secretary-Paul Carr

The rest of the 2022 board consists of :

Peter Bruemmer, Tony Bruno, Sara Lou Copeland, Danny Couch, M. Roy Daniels, III, David Daniels, Judith Fearing, Orestes Gooden, Barbara Gourley, Todd Huvard, Paul Wright Jameson, Penny Leary Smith, William Nelson, Doug Seay, Mike Smith, and Peregrine White.

Mike Smith is a former president of the 94 year old Society that started out as the Kill Devil Hills Memorial Association.

The FFS plans an annual celebration at the Wright Brothers National Memorial on Wright Brothers Day, December 17th mandated by their bylaws to memorialize the work of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, NC. First Flight Society also celebrates National Aviation Day on August 19th which is also Orville Wright’s birthday.

Without the First Flight Society there would not be a Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. The Kill Devil Hills Memorial Association, later named First Flight Society, began as a group of local businessmen who successfully petitioned the US Congress to fund and build a monument to the Wright Brothers’ 1903 achievement.

They created the Paul E Garber Shrine in 1966 to honor individuals and groups for achieving significant “firsts” in aviation development since 1903. (Charles Lindbergh, Tuskegee Airmen, Mary Feik, John Glenn, Katherine Johnson (Hidden Figures) and most recently astrounaut Sally K Ride, among others.

First Flight Society promotes aviation education through an Aviation Education Committee to expand the knowledge of the Wright Brothers’ legacy by bringing aviation education programs to students in Dare County. They also offer an annual FFS Scholarship through Outer Banks Community Foundation for students pursuing aviation education in North Carolina.

First Flight Society Announces 2021 Class of Honorary Members

– November 18, 2021 – The First Flight Society announces 3 new Honorary Members: AOPA President Mark Baker, Historian Tom Crouch and Aerobatic Champion Rob Holland.

Tom D Crouch is an American aeronautics historian and curator. Tom Crouch joined the Smithsonian in 1974 and has served both the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History in a variety of curatorial and administrative posts. Dr. Crouch retired in 2018 and is a curator emeritus. He is the author or editor of several books and many articles for both popular magazines and scholarly journals. These include: The Bishop’s Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright.

Mark Baker is Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)’s fifth president. He is a commercial pilot with single- and multiengine land and seaplane ratings and a rotorcraft rating. In conjunction with his role as president and CEO of AOPA, Baker is chairman of AOPA’s Political Action Committee, chief executive officer for the AOPA Foundation, president of the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations representing pilots in 72 countries, and publisher of AOPA Pilot.

Rob Holland is one of the premier airshow performers and freestyle aerobatic competition pilots in the world today. He is Ten-time, consecutive, U.S. National Aerobatic Champion, Five-time, consecutive, World 4-minute Freestyle Champion and Eleven-time, U.S. 4-minute Freestyle Champion.

Tom has had a long association with the First Flight Society and often speaks about the Wright Brothers at the December 17th Wright Brothers Celebration. Rob joins aerobatic pilots Sean D Tucker and Patty Wagstaff as a First Flight Society Honorary Member. Mark Baker is a longtime general aviation (GA) pilot and only the fifth president in the 75-year history of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).

The Honorary Member program launched last year to enhance the public visibility of luminaries like these who have achieved national recognition in aviation. First Flight Society will recognize them in Society Media during their lifetime. In turn, FFS offers them the chance to attend the December 17th Luncheon in Kitty Hawk, NC and be honored along with that year’s Honoree. With the cancellation of last year’s luncheon, the Society hopes to renew that offer this December to the Class of 2020.

This year’s honoree is Dr Sally K Ride, the first American woman in space. Ride was a Physicist, astronaut, and champion of science education. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

She will be inducted into the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine at Wright Brothers National Memorial on December 17, 2021.

The FFS plans an annual Wright Brothers Day Celebration at the Wright Brothers National Memorial on December 17th mandated by their bylaws to memorialize the work of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, NC. More information about the event can be found at

More information about the First Flight Society can be found at

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