While it is unlikely that anyone alive today can claim to have witnessed personally any of the flights of the Wright brothers during the formative years when they discovered how to fly, made the world’s first practical flying machines, or flew before audiences in America and Europe,  there are some folk alive who have lived, breathed, and helped to remember the heritage of Wright flights at Kitty Hawk, at Dayton, Ohio, in France, Italy and Germany.

On this page we are including interview with a select group of individuals who grew up in the shadow and memory of Wright flights.

Marc Denoueix of LeMans, France, grew up near the two spots where Wilbur Wright undertook the first Wright flights in Europe during 1908. When Wilbur Wright departed from Kitty Hawk in May that year, he headed directly to France where he began to search for an appropriate flying field. By 8 June—just a few weeks after leaving Kitty Hawk—he landed in LeMans, France, where his business associates had arranged for him to use a horse race track—Hunaudieres. On 8 August he made his first dramatic flight around the tiny field. Within 5 days the race track was so mobbed with thousands of spectators that Wilbur demanded a larger and safer place to fly.  On 21 August he inaugurated the new field at French army base—Camp d’Auvours. There he flew ever longer and more ambitious flights until 31 December when he flew around the field for 2 hours and 18 minutes, winning the coveted Michelin Cup for the longest flight. Denoueix is co-president of the LeMans-Sarthe centennial commemoration of Wilbur’s first flights. He was interviewed by Dr. Larry E. Tise about these flights during a visit to East Carolina University in November 2006.

Mark Denoueix traveled to Kitty Hawk and then Greenville, North Carolina, in November 2006 with a delegation of nine individuals from LeMans and Coulaines—a suburb of the larger city. They came to the United States to confirm a twinning agreement that had been concluded between Kitty Hawk and Coulaines some six month earlier. While the delegation was at East Carolina University, they agreed to sing for recording a festive song about Wilbur Wright’s time at LeMans during 1908. 

Contessa Maria Fede Caproni di Taliedo of Rome, Italy, is the daughter of Gianni Caproni, one of the most creative innovators of flying machines in the history of flight. Gianni Caproni observed Wilbur Wright’s flights at Rome in 1909 and Wright flying machines in competitive flights in Italy and across Europe. So inspired was he about the possibilities of flight that he entered into a career of designing dozens of airplanes that set the standards for new design, lift, size, distance, and versatility for airplanes from prior to the First World War into the post-Second World War Europe. Contessa Caproni has preserved the archives, records, memories, and many of the machines produced by the gigantic Caproni Corporation. She was interviewed for this website by Dr. Larry E. Tise in her offices in Rome, Italy, in December 2006.
Available Interviews