History

Company History of Kitty Hawk Kites

Kitty Hawk Kites, Inc. was founded in 1974 by John Harris, a pioneer in hang gliding, to provide instruction, products, and service to the burgeoning new sport. In the late 1980s, Kitty Hawk Kites expanded into what is now it’s three main businesses: providing hang gliding instruction to students and instructors through it’s Flight School; selling aviation and outdoor clothing as well as kites and toys through its retail outlets; and providing adventure recreation activities.

The Flight School

The KHK Flight School with upwards of 35 instructors during the summer months is the oldest hang gliding school on the east coast of the USA and the largest school of its kind in the world. It provides beginning, intermediate, and advanced instruction to students as well as instructors in foot-launched and tandem hang gliding. Since its inception, the Flight School has provided instruction to well over 450,000 students and continues to instruct over 10,000 students every year. The Flight School provides rating certifications to students meeting the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA) published standards.

Located on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the KHK Flight School provides foot-launched instruction from Jockey’s Ridge State Park (the largest sand dune on the east coast) and tandem instruction at the Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg, NC. In tandem training, the student and instructor fly together on a large glider pulled aloft with an ultralight aircraft.

Adventure Recreational Activities

Kitty Hawk Kites offers many recreational activities. There is now tandem hang gliding, ultralight instruction, guided kayak eco-tours, kiteboarding, dolphin tours, parasailing, fishing excursions, and more! View all adventures.

Our guided kayak ecotours allow participants to explore the unique ecosystems and natural history of the Outer Banks. Kiteboarding is proving to be an exhilarating and rapidly growing sport. Parasailing is offered at both our Manteo and Duck locations and provides an exciting way to enjoy the views of the waters surrounding the Outer Banks, NC.

Kitty Hawk Kites Retail Facilities

The main facility for Kitty Hawk Kites is across from Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head. This is the Company’s largest retail store. The 8,042 square foot retail facility is home to the Flight Deck (aviation clothing), stunt and recreational kite products, windsocks, and toys. The store specializes in high-quality clothing products focused around aviation and the outdoor environment.

Kitty Hawk Surf Company, located next door to our main facility in Nags Head, offers kayak sales, accessories, and rentals. Kitty Hawk Surf Company now boasts four main locations in Nags Head, Duck, Corolla, and Rodanthe.

Over the past several years, Kitty Hawk Kites has opened additional facilities along North Carolina’s Outer Banks. In addition to our main store in Nags Head, across from Jockey’s Ridge State Park (mp 12.5), we now have stores in Corolla (3), Duck (2), Manteo, Waves, Avon, Hatteras, and Ocracoke. View all locations here.

Kitty Hawk Kites, Inc. now operates 25+ retail locations in seven states along the East Coast in North Carolina, Florida, New Hampshire, Virginia, Massachusettes, Maine, and New Jersey.

Morningside Flight Park

Morningside Flight Park located in Charlestown, New Hampshire is the second Hang Gliding and Paragliding School in the Kitty Hawk Kites family and now offers other family adventures like kayak tours, zip line tours and laser tag. In 2013, Kitty Hawk Kites, Inc. worked with the Foundation for Free Flight to procure the land to be a hang gliding and paragliding zone for the next 99 years.


For more information, photos, or general questions about Kitty Hawk Kites, Inc. contact our marketing department at marketing@kittyhawk.com.

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