The Wright Brothers' Historic Flying Demonstration at Fort Myers

by Linda Burdette, Feature Article Editor

September 17, 2008 is the anniversary of both a historic flight and a historic tragedy. Many pilots and aviation enthusiasts know about the Wright Brothers’ historic flying demonstration at Fort Myer, Virginia and that it resulted in the first aviation fatality. Although the event is widely known, a 100th anniversary surely deserves a repeat of the details. In the aftermath of the 1903 flight at Kitty Hawk, the Wright Brothers were struggling against a lot of skepticism. Some said they simply had never flown and were crackpots. Others couldn’t believe that two bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio could possibly have done what so many before them had failed to do. Others had the idea that if such simple people had built a successful airplane, it couldn’t be difficult. But the Wrights persevered and by 1905 had produced a new and more capable airplane. After successful tests that year, they tried to interest the War Department in the purchase of airplanes, but were turned down again
and again.

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