Programs on Flight

NOVA: Spies That Fly
The air war in Afghanistan showed that sometimes the hottest pilots are sitting on the ground operating the remote controls of UAVs -- or unmanned aerial vehicles. In newly declassified footage, "Spies That Fly" reveals the astounding capabilities of UAVs and the ambitious plans for future models.

Final Hours: Amelia Earhart's Last Flight
This powerful documentary recreates the final flight of Amelia Earhart, the noted aviation pioneer whose historic 1937 trip around the world ended in her tragic disappearance. Shot in 19 countries, THE FINAL HOURS is based on "World Flight 1997," Texas aviator Linda Finch's honorary recreation of Earhart's planned flight. With the rare accreditation of the Smithsonian Institution, this informative program presents footage of Finch's flight, artfully intercut with archival footage and interviews with Earhart. Notably different from other Amelia Earhart films, this program also presents theories as to what actually occurred during the deadly flight.

Lindbergh's Great Race
2002 marks the 75th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's historic solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in his single engine plane, The Spirit of St. Louis. It is also the 100th anniversary of the great aviator's birth. This award-winning program tells the heart-stopping story of one man's race against time and staggering odds to win a revered place in the pantheon of American heroes. Five years in the making, LINDBERGH'S GREAT RACE employs rarely-seen footage, including the design and construction of Lindbergh's custom built plane at Ryan Aircraft in San Diego, and little-known sound recordings. This is a comprehensive documentary that traces the flight that made Charles Lindbergh an international household name, and marked the birth of modern long-distance commercial aviation as we know it.

NOVA: The Wright Brothers' Flying Machine
December 17, 2003, marks the centennial of the world's first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. To celebrate this milestone, NOVA presents the definitive documentary on the invention of the airplane. While many shows have retold the Wright brothers' personal story, no program has properly explored the   astonishing inventiveness that they applied to the problem of powered flight. NOVA reveals the popular image of the Wrights as amateur bicycle mechanics who tinkered their way into the sky to be a total myth. The program features exhilarating footage of flights by exclusively commissioned replicas that use the same original materials and the only existing Wright engine for the frail craft that first propelled humans toward the clouds. Watch as the triumph of powered flight comes alive once more in NOVA's epic documentary.

David Hartman: First in Flight
David Hartman interviews author Larry Tice about his research on the life of the Wright brothers. Dr. Tice shares writings from the Wrights as well as others who were with them during some of their test flights. Find out what went on behind the scenes when the Wright brothers built their airplane.

America Takes Flight: The National Air Tour
In the infancy of aviation, it was necessary to prove that travel by airplane was safe. The National Air Tours, held in 1925 through 1931, were designed to prove the viability of commercial air travel by bringing a variety of aircraft to the people. Famous pilots, experimental planes, eccentric manufacturers and monkey mascots all participated, drawing major crowds and press attention in most locations. AMERICA TAKES FLIGHT: THE NATIONAL AIR TOUR is comprised almost exclusively of archival footage. Photographs, newspaper clippings, newspaper articles, advertisements, archival maps and footage of historic planes in flight complete the visuals with period music setting the tone. Unlike the birth of flight and WWII aviation, the time period of the tour-late '20s to early '30s-is largely unexplored territory.

100 Years of Flight
Join WRAL and UNC-TV as they celebrate the 100th year anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright's successful takeoff from Kitty Hawk. Festivities will take place at Kitty Hawk and include footage of the flight museum and some air shows.

Kitty Hawk: The Wright Brothers' Journey of Invention
Kitty Hawk: The Wright Brothers' Journey of Invention--a new two-part, two-hour PBS special--recounts the gripping tale of hardship, perseverance, and spectacular triumph of Orville and Wilbur Wright. Featuring hundreds of rare and unpublished photographs, detailed computer animated recreations, insights from eleven of the world's leading Wright experts, and stunning sequences of replica Wright brothers' gliders in actual flights, this PBS documentary follows the brothers through their epic and historic journey which culminates in the first successful manned flights. Legendary astronauts John Glenn and Neil Armstrong breathe life into the Wright brothers' writings by portraying the voices of Orville and Wilbur--a fitting tribute from the heroes of space to the pioneers of aviation.