March 26, 1910
Aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright opened the nation’s first civilian flying school on an old cotton plantation near Montgomery in spring 1910. Wilbur Wright arrived in Montgomery on Feb. 15 and visited several sites before selecting the Frank Kohn plantation the next day. The Wrights had their biplane shipped to Montgomery in seven large crates that arrived by train March 15. Late on the evening of March 26, Orville made the first documented controlled and sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air machine over Alabama. The brothers’ flying school was short-lived, however, with mechanical and weather-related problems forcing them to close the facility. The site later became Maxwell Field, which would evolve into what is now Maxwell Air Force Base.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
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 biplane pictured here was used by Orville Wright to train students at his civilian flying school, which opened near Montgomery in March 1910. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Air University Historical Research Agency)
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 operated from March to May 1910 near Montgomery. The site became a flight repair depot for the Army Air Corps during World War I, and now is the home of Maxwell Air Force Base. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photograph by Justin Dubois)
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)
For more on Alabama’s bicentennial, go to Alabama 200.