Physics professor Will Cunningham is grounded by grief over the loss of his wife in a plane crash. But when his rebellious teenage daughter Emily gets in trouble with the law in their perfect suburban hometown, he rouses himself enough to take a drastic step: he moves them to the windswept shores of Kitty Hawk, NC, and accepts the challenge to end forever the controversy over whether or not the 1903 Wright Flyer really did fly. His research team is five gifted, funny student outcasts from Kitty Hawk regional high school. His competition? Dr. Glenn Langworth, prominent aerospace engineer and prime proponent of the theory that Wright Flyer never truly did take flight, and a research team is comprised of a group of engineers from NASA and MIT. In the world of high school teaching, Will faces life again. He's bolstered in his struggle by his students, by a new closeness with his daughter, and by a new relationship with Tara, a local pilot. But the enormity of the challenge of beating Langworth to the truth causes his courage to falter. Memories about the crash that killed his wife threaten the Kitty Hawk project, forcing Will Cunningham to decide whether he will truly ever "fly" again.