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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Arlington in Arlington County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Orville Wright’s First Virginia Flight

 
 
Orville Wright’s First Virginia Flight Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, September 9, 2017
1. Orville Wright’s First Virginia Flight Marker
Inscription. Orville Wright made his first heavier-than air flight in Virginia at Fort Myer for the U.S. Army on 3 Sept. 1908. He flew the plane slightly more than a minute, reaching a speed of 40 miles per hour. During the next two weeks here, Wright broke world records for speed and time spent in the air for a heavier than air craft. On 17 Sept. 1908, however the plane crashed, killing Lt. Thomas Selfridge and injuring Wright. In 1909, the Wright brothers returned to Fort Myer. After additional flight tests, the Army bought their plane for $25,000 on 31 July 1909 for its first military aircraft.
 
Erected 2000 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number C-7.)
 
Location. 38° 52.86′ N, 77° 5.036′ W. Marker is in Arlington, Virginia, in Arlington County. Marker is at the intersection of Arlington Boulevard (U.S. 50) and North Pershing Drive, on the right when traveling east on Arlington Boulevard. Touch for map. It is just outside Henry Gate for Joint Base Myer’s Henderson Hall. Marker is in this post office area: Arlington VA 22201, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. World’s First Public Passenger Flight (here, next to this marker); Fort Whipple
Two First-Flight Markers and the Blue Star Memorial Marker for Arlington Boulevard image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, September 9, 2017
2. Two First-Flight Markers and the Blue Star Memorial Marker for Arlington Boulevard
The Blue Star Memorial Highway marker reads “A tribute to the Armed Forces that have defended the United States of America, sponsored by Rock Spring Garden Club in cooperation with the Fort Myer Military Community and National Capital Area Garden Clubs, Inc.”
(within shouting distance of this marker); 12th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fort Myer Historic District (about 500 feet away); The Commander in Chief's Oak (about 500 feet away); Centennial of Military Aviation (about 500 feet away); Thomas Etholen Selfridge (about 500 feet away); Famous Firsts in Aeronautics at Fort Myer (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Arlington.
 
More about this marker. This marker replaced an earlier marker with this same number titled “First Heavier-Than-Air Flight in Virginia” that read, “The first heavier-than-air flight in Virginia was made by Orville Wright at Fort Myers on 4 September 1908. A United States Signal Corps log noted the flight spanned three miles at a height of 40 feet. The engine’s condition following the flight of four minutes and fifteen seconds was described as ‘good.’ The engine ran a total of six minutes.”
 
Also see . . .  Fatal Fall of Wright Airship. New
Wright Aeroplane, Ft. Myer, Va. image. Click for full size.
Unknown photographer, via Wikipedia Commons, September 1908
3. Wright Aeroplane, Ft. Myer, Va.
from the records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer
York Times
1908 article. “As the aeroplane dashed off the rising track Lieut. Selfridge waved his hand gayly to a group of army officers and newspaper men and threw back some laughing remarks that were drowned in the whir of the propellers. As he swept around Selfridge evidently was enjoying himself thoroughly. When the machine sailed above the heads of the crowd at the head of the field it could be seen plainly that he and Wright were holding an animated conversation. Selfridge interrupted this for a moment to wave a greeting to his friends.

“The aeroplane had made three complete circuits of the big parade ground and was dashing around a curve at the far end of the field on the final lap of its fourth when the propeller blade broke. It snapped short off close to the shaft and was hurled sixty feet away. “The aeroplane seemed to tip sharply for a fraction of a second, then it started up for about ten feet; this was followed by a short, sharp dive and a crash in the field. Instantly the dust arose in a yellow, choking cloud that spread a dull pall over the great white man-made bird that had dashed to its death.” (Submitted on September 9, 2017.) 
 
Categories. Air & SpaceMilitary
 
Fort Myer Wright Flyer Crash image. Click for full size.
C.H. Claudy, via Wikipedia Commons, September 17, 1908
4. Fort Myer Wright Flyer Crash
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 9, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 9, 2017, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 68 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 9, 2017, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.
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