November 8, 1922
The U.S. War Department renamed a Montgomery repair depot and airstrip Maxwell Field, an observation base for the Army Air Service’s Twenty-Second Observation Squadron. Now known as Maxwell Air Force Base, the base is on the former site of the Wright Brothers Flying School, which opened in 1910 as the nation’s first civilian flying school. Maxwell later served as the home of the Air Corps Tactical School for senior officer education and air-power doctrine and, during World War II, served as the Army Air Forces’ operational training center for the eastern United States. Today, Maxwell is home to Air University, the U.S. Air Force’s primary center for professional military education.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Wright brothers’ plans for aeroplane patent, 1908. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)
Orville and Wilbur Wright were self-taught engineers who were aerospace pioneers at the turn of the 20th century. They achieved the first human-powered flight in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In 1910, the brothers founded the first civilian flight school near Montgomery on the site currently occupied by Maxwell Air Force Base. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Air University Historical Research Agency)
The Wright brothers’ civilian flying school, the first in the nation, was founded near Montgomery in 1910. The school operated about two months and graduated one student, Walter Brookins, who made the first recorded night flight on May 25, 1910. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama)
The plane that the Wright Brothers brought to Montgomery in 1910 suffered from continuous engine trouble, leading to the school’s brief lifespan. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Air University Historical Research Agency)
Walter Brookins, left, and Archibald Hoxsey trained with the Wright brothers at their flying school near Montgomery in 1910. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Air University Historical Research Agency)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.