Countdown to Kitty Hawk
& Wright Experience
Countdown to Kitty Hawk and the Wright Experience were two programs designed to work together as a tribute to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brother's first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903. The yearlong Wright Experience program led up to the historically accurate re-enacted first flight of the Wright Flyer, entitled Countdown to Kitty Hawk The Wright Experience was a five-city traveling tour with stops at: Sun 'n Fun, Ford Centennial, Dayton, AirVenture, Museum of Flight and Kitty Hawk.
The Wright Experience was an interactive display of the actual re-created aircraft that was to fly on the 100th anniversary of the first controlled powered airplane flight in Kitty Hawk. This display also featured several sponsors of the event: the Experimental Aircraft Association, who built the Wright Flyer replica; Eclipse Aviation, representing the future of aviation; Ford Motor Company, whose history is heavily tied in the roots of aviation; and Microsoft Flight Simulator. Mach 2 Management was brought into the Wright Experience as a liaison between the sponsors to ensure each had equal representation at the venues.
The culmination of the Wright Experience was the actual flight of the Wright Flyer replica at Kitty Hawk, NC, on December 17, 2003. This high profile event, involving international media, high-level VIP's and a Presidential visit, required extensive planning.
Mach 2 Management, as the logistical supplier for lodging, transportation, and hospitality for over 700 guests, had to develop all the required needs of the guests in a very short time period. More than 175 beach homes in the Outer Banks area to house the VIP guests were secured. To make our guests feel more at home, each beach home was stocked with personalized food and beverages based on the guests' diet, a welcome letter and aviation DVDs.
Several of the guests arrived via private jet; therefore special shuttles were arranged to transport them to the guest homes. While the guests checked in at the centrally located control room, their luggage was placed in their assigned beach home. Several luxury vehicles were brought in from Hertz and made available as temporary rental vehicles at the control room. Due to the lack of Internet access in the homes, a high-speed Internet access area was set up in the control room, complete with printers, workstation laptops, phones and a booth for radio broadcasting. This area was also stocked with a supply of amenities, ranging from aspirin to hair dryers, and 24-hour staffing.
On the morning of the flight re-enactment, arrangements for luxury buses to transport everyone to the event site, including a full police escort, were made. Because President Bush was arriving on-site for a public address, the Secret Service established tight security creating lengthy delays. Mach 2 Management was able to make arrangements to have a special security checkpoint opened for guests to ensure they all could be processed through without missing the historical program.