American Defenders of Land, Sea & Sky
Allies in a Global Struggle America and World War I (1914-1918)
We demonstrated our flying skills.
Fort Myer Historic District
In September, 1908, Orville Wright brought his incredible flying machine to Fort Myer to show it to Army
officials. The flight lasted one minute and eleven seconds. Six days later, Wright decided to better the record.
His second flight lasted four minutes, but the plane crashed, injuring Wright and killing his companion,
Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge. Army officials decided airplanes were too dangerous for the military. In July,
1909, Orville returned to Fort Myer with an improved plane. This time Wright and a passenger flew
round-trip from Arlington to Alexandria, Virginia, traveling at speeds of forty miles per hour! His impressive
demonstration of airplane safety and speed convinced Army officials to purchase the airplane for Army use.
They paid $30,000.