Arlington in Arlington County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Thomas Etholen Selfridge
First military officer in the world to pilot an airplane, solo, in flight
May 19, 1908
Hammondsport, New York
First person in the world to lose his life as the result of an airplane accident
September 17, 1908
Fort Myer, Virginia
Born in San Francisco, California February 8, 1882; graduated from the United States Military Academy, 1903; First Lieutenant, Field Artillery. Assigned to the Signal Corps for aeronautic duties, United States Army. Lt. Selfridge had enthusiastic interest and extended experience in aeronautics. In 1907 he ascended 168 feet in a large tetrahedral kite developed by Alexander Graham Bell. Lt. Selfridge made a number of balloon ascensions, qualified as pilot of the Army’s first dirigible airship. Studied the science of flight. Participated in the design of four airplanes and wrote detailed accounts of aviation progress. He was age 26 when he died. Had he lived he would have been one of our army’s most brilliant leaders in aeronautics. He was buried with full military honors in nearby Arlington Cemetery.
and to all who have sacrificed their lives in the development of human flight
October 29, 1970 • Sculpture by Captain Ralph S. Barnaby, USN
Erected 1970 by Early Birds of Aviation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Air & Space. A significant historical date for this entry is February 8, 1909.
Location. 38° 52.907′ N, 77° 4.939′ W. Marker is in Arlington, Virginia, in Arlington County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Sheridan Avenue and Reba Place, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Myer VA 22211, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Famous Firsts in Aeronautics at Fort Myer (here, next to this marker); First Flight of an Airplane on a U.S. Army Installation (here, next to this marker); Centennial of Military Aviation (a few steps from this marker); The Commander in Chief's Oak (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Myer Historic District (within shouting distance of this marker); 12th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Whipple (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); World’s First Public Passenger Flight (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Arlington.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 18, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 527 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 18, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 3, 4. submitted on January 29, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.