January 12, 2024

Kitty Hawk Kites soars on the cover of “Our State”

Kitty Hawk Kites is thrilled to be starting their 50th year of operation as the cover photo for the January issue of popular North Carolina publication, “Our State”. A monthly magazine featuring travel and history articles from across North Carolina, “Our State” is the longest running regional publication in the US.

50 Years as “first” in Aviation

This month’s issue of “Our State” highlights famous origin stories stemming from the history of North Carolina. KHK Hang Gliding School Co-Manager and professional pilot, Billy Vaughn graces the cover flying a replica of the 1902 Wright Brothers original glider that helped North Carolina receive its tagline as “first in flight”. The feature, written by Outer Banks local Molly Harrison, highlights Kitty Hawk Kites as an important figurehead in keeping the tradition of aviation in North Carolina alive. Specifically, the author pays tribute to KHK’s journey as a leader in the industry of flight, describing its story as follows:

“How one photograph in 1973 launched an aeronautic empire that’s entering its 50th year of teaching the world to fly.”

Our State Magazine
The January 2024 issue of “Our State”

Cover image featuring Billy Vaughn piloting KHK's replica of the 1902 Wright Glider

The story, beginning on page 68 of the issue, features words from our founder and CEO, John Harris, on his personal discovery of the sport of hang gliding and his desire to share its joys of flight with the rest of the world. Harris came to the Outer Banks in 1973 to learn to fly hang gliders off of Jockey’s Ridge, and one year later opened the flagship Kitty Hawk Kites Hang Gliding School and store. In 50 years, KHK’s humble beginnings as a garage shop across the street from the ridge has grown into 6 recreation centers and 28 retail store locations up and down the East Coast of the United States.

John Harris

Photo courtesy Chris Hannant for Our State Magazine

Click the button below to read the full story on ourstatemag.com!

The article additionally features images and video footage of hang gliding school co-manager, Billy Vaughn, piloting both modern hang gliders and KHK’s exclusive replica of the 1902 Wright Brother’s original glider. Vaughn is a veteran hang glider pilot who has been instructing hang gliding with Kitty Hawk Kites for more than 30 years. He is part of an ever- growing community of flyers who Kitty Hawk Kites has fostered as part of its flight school training program. For 50 years, Kitty Hawk Kites has been one of the largest hang gliding schools in the world, teaching more than 400,00 people how to hang glide.

Kitty Hawk Kites Flight School

The feature focuses on the legacy of flight in North Carolina, survived in part thanks to KHK!

The story in “Our State” coincides perfectly with the Kitty Hawk Kites’ entrance into its 50th year of operation! We’re grateful to be featured as the front page of a publication that is near and dear to so many North Carolinians. And we’re honored to be recognized for our contributions to the tradition of aviation in the Outer Banks. It’s all a part of our mission and purpose of teaching the world to fly!

Check out this video below from Our State to hear from our founder, John Harris, and hang gliding school manager, Billy Vaughn on Hang Gliding and aviation in NC:

Want to learn to fly?

Kitty Hawk Kites Hang Gliding School is open all year and offers you the experience of a lifetime with the best instructors! Click the button below to start your journey today! Take to the sky and fly fly fly.

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