Johnson County pilot flies to Kitty Hawk with official state flag

Marcia "Sparky" Barnes and Denny Moore present the Tennessee flag with a National Park State Representative before it was flown at the Wright Brothers National Memorial site. The Wright Brothers National Memorial Monument stands in the background.

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff
Oct. 3 was officially declared "50 flags to Kitty Hawk" day in Tennessee when Marcia "Sparky" Barnes delivered the official Tennessee flag to Kitty Hawk, N.C. last week as part of the Centennial of Flight Celebration to be held Dec. 17.
Thousands of pilots and aviation lovers across the world will converge at Kitty Hawk to take part in the ceremonies and events.
Only 50 pilots from across America will be able to say they were chosen by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and Ford Motor Company, sponsors of the celebration, to fly their respective state flag to Wright Brother's National Memorial in Kitty Hawk.
The pilot chosen to escort the Tennessee flag was Barnes, based at Roan Valley Aviation, 6A4, in Mountain City. Barnes recently finished totally rebuilding her fabric-covered 1948 Piper PA-17 Vagabond, which took nearly seven years to complete.
"It was truly an honor to be chosen to represent the Volunteer State, and be included in this historical celebration of the first 100 years of powered flight," said Barnes, who is a computing consultant and writer, and who has been an EAA member since 1995. Barnes is also a member of the Vintage Aircraft Association, a division of EAA.
Barnes was accompanied on the flight by Denny Moore, owner of Roan Valley Aviation. Barnes and Moore took off from Roan Valley Aviation on Oct. 2, and Barnes described the take off weather as "bright, clear and crisp." They stopped at Sanford Airport, 163 statute miles away, before resuming flight on Friday morning.
The flight lasted nearly five hours with one more stop for gas and rest at Plymouth, N.C. before continuing to First Flight Airport at Kitty Hawk, totaling 358 statute miles.
"The flight was especially fulfilling because it was the aircraft's first long cross country, after many years of restoration work. It also seemed appropriate to make the flight in the 55-year-old aircraft, symbolic of the simplicity of the earlier days of aviation," said Barnes.
Gov. Phil Bredesen presented the official Tennessee flag, which had previously flown over the capitol building in Nashville, to Barnes on June 23, 2003.
The celebration will culminate with EAA's re-creation of the single-most significant moment of the last century - the Wright brother's first heavier-than-air powered flight which took off at precisely 10:35 a.m. and lasted 12 seconds, traveling 120 feet. The Wright Experience Team will re-enact the first flight with an authentic reproduction of the 1903 Flyer.
As part of this Countdown to Kitty Hawk celebration, 50 pilots from the EAA will represent every state by flying their state flags into Wright Brothers National Memorial.
The Countdown to Kitty Hawk program is also supported by Microsoft Flight Simulator and Eclipse Aviation, and also features a six stop national tour of EAA's pavilion exhibit, featuring the Flyer, historic artifacts and Wright brother's correspondence from the Library of Congress, as well as numerous interactive aviation displays. For more information on EAA's Countdown to Kitty Hawk's program, visit