3 of 36 US Library of Congress
1909 Wright Flyer
The initial heavier-than-air aircraft bought by the Aeronautical Division originated from the one and only the Wright brothers. But even those pioneers, shortly taken off their monumental 1903 flight, had to prove their machine could meet up with the War Department’s requirements: It had in order to stay static in the air for a lot more than one hour, carry a passenger for at the very least 125 miles at a speed of 40 miles each hour, be steerable in all directions all the time and land without damage.
Here, Orville Wright makes a pass over Fort Myer, Virginia, on July 1, 1909. On Aug. 2 of this year, the government formally accepted the Wright Flyer at a cost of $30,000 and designated it Signal Corps Airplane No. 1.