Air Force

September 20, 2013

This Week in History: September 20

1st Lt. Tom Selfridge

Sept. 17, 1908: Selfridge flies with Wright

Thomas Selfridge was born on Feb. 8, 1882, in San Francisco. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1903. That was the same class as Douglas MacArthur. Selfridge graduated in the top third of his class.

After graduation, his unit helped with search and recovery efforts after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. A year later, he joined the Aeronautical Division of the Signal Corps at Fort Myers, Va., located across the river from Washington, D.C. He was one of three Army officers to learn how to fly U.S. Army Dirigible No. 1.

He became the government representative and first secretary to Alexander Graham Bell’s Aerial Experiment Association in 1907, and on Dec. 6, 1907, Selfridge made the first heavier than air flight in the nation of Canada on a giant tetrahedral kite named Cygnet, designed by Bell. Selfridge designed the association’s first powered aircraft. It was called Red Wing due to the color of the material on the wings.

On May 19, 1908, he was the first military officer to fly solo in a modern aircraft, the association’s White Wing. Another member of the association was future famous aircraft designer Glenn Curtis.

Orville Wright was at Fort Myer to put the Wright Flyer through acceptance trials with the Army, and Selfridge wanted to fly in it. The weather cleared enough for Orville to take the aircraft up with Selfridge in the passenger’s seat Sept. 17. Wright wore a cap, Selfridge wore no head gear. The engine and propeller

rode behind the two airmen.

The pair made four successful circuits of Fort Myer. On the fifth circuit, Orville put the aircraft into a shallow turn and heard tapping and then two thumps. Apparently, the propeller made contact with one of the guy wires. The aircraft began to shake as the propeller came apart, so Wright turned off the engine. The aircraft began to dive almost perpendicular to the ground. In the resulting crash, Wright broke his left thigh, several ribs, and damaged his right hip. He was hospitalized for several weeks. Selfridge was not so lucky. With a fractured skull, he did not last the night. After the crash, all fliers began wearing helmets. The nation buried Selfridge at Arlington, just a few hundred feet from the accident site.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy graphic

Fitness center gets Xtreme makeover

Courtesy graphic Above is an architectural rendering of the changes to the outside of the Luke Air Force Base Bryant Fitness Center. Renovations also include a remodel of most of the interior. The project will take place over t...
 
 

People — Air Force’s greatest asset

As I reflect on almost 25 years of military service, I find it easy to remember my assignments, the multiple jobs I’ve had and duties I have performed. I have served on four continents and for four presidents. Within that same time period, our nation has been in numerous campaigns ranging from operations Desert Storm...
 
 

Character, good or bad, will be passed on

Your character is who you are when no one is watching. At the same time, your character is who you are when everyone is watching. Your character is the sum of your morals and values and the quality of your character is of the utmost importance when leading others. In addition to your own values...
 

 
Senior Airman 
JAMES HENSLEY

History gets paint job

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY James Bridges and Hayden Yager, civilian contractors, prepare the F-104C Starfighter static display for painting Aug. 12 in the Luke Air Force Base Airpark. The static displays in the airpark will be ...
 
 

News Briefs August 29, 2015

Base-wide exercise The 56th Fighter Wing will begin an active-shooter exercise between 8 and 10 a.m. Thursday. It is expected to continue throughout the day. The exercise will include military and local, county and state law enforcement, and fire departments. On and off-base residents should expect traffic disruptions, gate closures or delays, and interruption of...
 
 
Tech. Sgt. 
BARBARA PLANTE

944th Airmen live life as military couple

Tech. Sgt.BARBARA PLANTE Staff Sgt. Adam Jenkins and Senior Airman Cassandra Jenkins, 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron, are a dual-military couple and work together as maintainers in the refueling vehicle maintenance shop. St...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>