Fort Myer in Arlington County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Famous Firsts in Aeronautics at Fort Myer
Here for the first time in the world, an airplane flew over an hour. That was on September 9, 1908, when a Wright Brothers’ “Flyer”, piloted by Orville Wright took off from the north end of the Fort Myer drill field and circled continuously over this area for one hour, two minutes and 15 seconds.
The same day Lieutenant Frank P. Lahm, U.S. Army, became the first person in the world to fly in an airplane as a military observer. That flight of six minutes and 24 seconds as a passenger with Mr. Wright was a world record flight for two men. The next year in another Wright “Flyer”, they made a world record passenger flight here of one hour, 12 minutes and 40 seconds.
The first cross-country flight of an airplane in America was made July 30, 1909, from Fort Myer to Alexandria and return, a continuous round trip of ten miles averaging about 42½ miles per hour. Orville Wright was pilot, and Lieutenant Benjamin Foulois, U.S. Army, was passenger.
Following these official tests that Wright “Flyer” of 1909 was accepted and purchased by the War Department. It was the first successful military airplane in the world. It remained in active service with the Signal Corps’ Aviation Section until 1911. It is now in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. In
An organization of those who flew solo before December 17, 1916
Erected 1959 by Early Birds of Aviation.
Location. 38° 52.908′ N, 77° 4.937′ W. Marker is in Fort Myer, 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. The marker panel is on the north face of the Army aviation memorial at the west side of Summerall Field, off the parking lot east of Sheridan Street. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Myer VA 22211, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Flight of an Airplane on a U.S. Army Installation (here, next to this marker); Thomas Etholen Selfridge (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 Fort Myer.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Also see . . . The Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. An organization of pioneers who flew solo before December 17, 1916. (Submitted on December 18, 2013.)
Categories. • Air & Space •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 17, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 383 times since then and 11 times this year. Last updated on December 19, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos: 1. submitted on December 17, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 2. submitted on December 19, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.