Kingman pilot to take part in Wright flight centennial

Kingman pilot Bob Brackett will fly an Arizona state flag to Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Oct.

10 for the Centennial of Flight.

The celebration of100 years of powered flight will culminate Dec.

17 when Orville and Wilbur Wright's flight is re-enacted.

"50 Flags to Kitty Hawk" is a joint effort of the Experimental Aircraft Association and the National Park Service.

The Wright brothers' first powered flight occurred at Kitty Hawk at 10:35 a.m.

Dec.

17, 1903.

The Experimental Aircraft Association will repeat the flight with a replica of the original Wright Flyer at 10:35 a.m.

Dec.

17, 2003.

The association selected Brackett and 49 other member pilots from each state to fly state flags to Kitty Hawk.

Brackett chose Oct.

10 because he took his first flying lesson Oct.

10, 1942, when he was 16.

The Experimental Aircraft Association, based in Oshkosh, Wis., also is building the Wright brothers replica as part of the Countdown to Kitty Hawk initiative presented by Ford Motor Co.

and supported by Microsoft Flight Simulator and Eclipse Aviation.

The Wright brothers are considered the first "homebuilders" in aviation, an association press release states.

The Wright Flyer replica will be taken on a tour of the United States with six stops before arriving in Kitty Hawk.

Brackett, president of Brackett Aircraft Co.

in the Kingman Airfield Industrial Park, will fly his 1964 Beech Baron from Kingman to Kitty Hawk with two stops along the way.

"Kingman is on the same parallel as Kitty Hawk so it is a straight shot across country," Brackett said.

"I am taking Ed Covington and one of my two sons along.

One has to stay and run the business."

Covington is a longtime Kingman resident, friend of Brackett and retired director of the Kingman Public Works Department.

Brackett served in the U.S.

Air Force and flew a F-86 Sabrejet in Korea.

A flight school classmate was Buzz Aldrin, who would become one of the first astronauts to walk on the moon.

Brackett served with John Glenn, who would become the first astronaut to orbit Earth.

Brackett flew a tour around the U.S.

in 1992 with "Spirit of Kingman" painted on the nose of the same Beech Baron that will take the flag to Kitty Hawk.

"I will paint a new logo on the nose for this trip to promote Kingman," he said.

A set of pontoons in his hanger was used during a flight to Canada and Alaska, where he had to remember to keep the wheels up when landing on water and wheels down when landing on a runway.

The Brackett Aircraft Co.

on Flightline Drive was the third business established at the Kingman Airfield Industrial Park.

The company manufactures aerospace products and supplies 90 percent of the market for induction air filters for aircraft.

"The bad part is the filters are used only on propeller driven aircraft and the market is shrinking," he said.

The company also produces a variety of tow bars for smaller aircraft and wheels for helicopters that are moved from place to place on the ground.

Brackett holds patents on some of the connectors that make one tow bar almost universal for small aircraft.

More information on the Countdown to Kitty Hawk program is available at www.countdowntokittyhawk.com.