First Flight Society

Paul E Garber Shrine

The Paul E Garber First Flight Society Shrine is housed inside the Visitor Center at Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, NC.

In 1966, the Kill Devil Hills Memorial Association was rekindled as the newly-incorporated First Flight Society. A keystone of the Society’s work today is the close support it offers the National Park Service at the Wright Brothers National Memorial. The Society established the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine, a portrait gallery that surrounded the Wright Flyer reproduction displayed in the Park’s visitor. Currently the Shrine is an exhibit with a digital display of honorees, along with the painting of the most current inductee. The Shrine honors those individuals and groups that have achieved significant “firsts” in aviation’s development. A new member of the First Flight Shrine has been inducted during December 17 ceremonies every year since 1966 and is honored with the unveiling of their portrait.

The Shrine is named for Paul E. Garber, a curator and historian at the Smithsonian Institution.  He played a key role in the creation of the National Air Museum in 1946, and was indispensable in the effort to construct the present National Air and Space Museum building in Washington, DC, which opened in 1976. 

Walter and Olive Ann Beech, 2023 Paul Garber Shrine Inductees

General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. 2022 Paul Garber Shrine Inductee

Paul E Garber Shrine Honorees

1966 – Wilbur and Orville Wright		
1967 – Charles Lindburgh			
1968 – Richard Byrd, Jacqueline Cochran,
       Amelia Earhart				
1969 – Charles E. Yeager, Glenn Curtiss,	
       Jimmy Doolittle, Neil Armstrong,	
       Edwin Aldrin, Michael Collins	
1970 – Wiley Post, Igor Sikorsky		
1971 – Thomas Selfridge, Robert White	
1972 – Grover Loening, William Mitchell     
1973 – Louis Bleriot                                       
1974 – Edward Rickenbacker                        
1975 – Cal Rodgers                                       
1976 – Henry T. Merrill, Alford Williams     
1977 – Lowell Smith, Leslie Arnold, Leigh Wade,   
       Henry Ogden, Erik Nelson,
       John Harding, Jr.                                
1978 - John Glenn
1979 – Albert Read, James Breese, Herbert Rodd,
       Elmer Stone, Walter Hinton, Eugene Rhoads
1980 – Benjamin Foulois
1981 – Albert Santos-Durmont
1982 – Albert Scott Crossfield
1983 – Charlie Taylor
1984 – Theodore Ellyson
1985 – Bruce McCandless
1986 – Walter R. Brookins
1987 – Burt Rutan, Dick Rutan, Jeana Yeager
1988 – Blance Noyes, Louise Thaden
1989 – Bessie Coleman, Albert Hegenberger
1990 – Yuri Gagarin
1991 – Hans Von Ohain, Sir Frank J. Whittle
1992 – Robert M. Stanley, Lawrence C. Craigie
1993 – Alan Shepard
1994 – Eugene Ely
1995 – Francis and Gertrude Rogallo
1996 – Paul Poberezny, Tom Poberezny
       Lawrence Sperry
1997 – Henry Arnold, Tom Davis
1998 – Joe Kittinger, John Paul Stapp, M.D., 
1999 – Ann Baumgartner Carl, Jean Hixon
2000 – Donald W. Douglas
2001 – Clyde Cessna
2002 – Jack Northrop
2003 – Wilbur and Orville Wright
2004 - Tuskegee Airmen
2005 – Tiny Broadwick, Captain Albert Berry
2006 – Tony Jannus
2007 – Dr. Richard T. Whitcomb
2008 - Herbert D. Kelleher
2009 - Frederick E. Humphreys, Frank Purdy Lahm
2010 - Betty Skelton Frankman Erde
2011 - David Sinton Ingalls
2012 - Charles Frank Bolden, Jr.
2013 - William Edward Boeing
2014 - Mary S. Feik 
2015 - Jerrie Mock
2016 - Stewart Ross Graham, 
       Frank A. Erickson 
2017 - Elrey Borge Jeppesen
2018 - Katherine G. Johnson
2019 - Gail S. “Hal” Halvorsen
2020 - Frank W. Caldwell
2021 - Sally K. Ride
2022 - Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.
2023 - Walter and Olive Ann Beech
2024 -

Apollo 11 Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin -1969