Centennial Logo


2003 Centennial of Flight Celebration

Prior to 2003, Flight Expo began the construction of a 1903 Wright Flyer replica for the Centennial of Flight Celebration.

Sharon Sandberg was the President of Flight Expo and provided coordination between MAHEC and Flight Expo.

Dale Johnson was the chief builder of the replica from plans he received from the National Air and Space Museum.

Others assisting in building the Flyer were Steve Adkins, Clair Dahl,

The Minnesota Aviation History and Education Center was asked to coordinate the Celebration of the Centennial of flight. The First Century of Flight Committee was formed to accomplish this task with Stan Ross from the CAF as Chairman.   Other members of the Committee were: Ray Rought for the Office of Aeronautics - Kevin Sliwinski for CAP, Treasurer - Sharon Sandberg for Flight Expo - Steve Adkins for EAA - Earl "Torch" Dorn for Flying Farmers - Greg Snow for WCCO,

Flight Expo had a major setback in 2002, when the Wright Flyer Replica was close to completion, a ceramic electric heater above the flyer catastrophically failed and showered the flyer with burning hot pieces starting the flyer on fire Fire photos .   Members of Flight Expo that were building the flyer overcame this setback in an outstanding manner, but the flyer was not ready at the beginning of 2003 as planned.

The Governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, declared December 2002 the Centennial of Flight Celebration Kickoff Month.

Proclamation by the Governor of Minnesota

The flyer was on display in the Rotunda of the Mall of America from August 22nd through the 29th in 2003. View snapshots of the displays   The disply was co-sponsored by the IAM who were celebrating their 50 year anniversary.   Members of the organizations that supported the flyer provided information to the public.

View photo's of the display

Participating organizations were: The Gen. E. W. Rawlings Chapter of the Air Force Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Commerative Air Force, Flying Farmers, Minnesota Aviation and History and Education Center, Minnesota Aviation Trades Association, Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association Minnesota Wing Civil Air Patrol, Mn/DOT Office of Aeronautics, North Central Region Aerospace Education Association, Twin Cities Section - American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The year culminated on December 17, 2003 with a Celebration at the American Wings Museum at Anoka County-Blaine Airport (Janes Field). The Wright Flyer remained at American Wings Museum after the year was over.

The Wright Flyer replica was moved to Lysdale Flying Service Hangar 5 on Fleming Field in South St. Paul and placed on display when American Wings Museum closed.   Many thanks to Gary Lysdale for providing the space for the Flyer.

It was on display in Hangar 5 at South St. Paul Airport (Fleming Field) until October 24th 2020 when it was moved to the Wings of the North Museum at Flying Cloud Airport. It is now just across the hangar from it's birth place. Click here to view photo