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.


 
 

 

Fighting Falcons arrive at Holloman

Courtesy photo Six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 308th Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base arrive in formation June 16 at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The 308th FS has inactivated and the soon to be activated 314th FS assumes the 308th FS mission of training F-16 pilots as a 56th Fighter Wing...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Hecker assumes command of 19th Air Force

Courtesy photo Gen. Robin Rand, Air Education and Training Command commander, presents the unit guidon to Maj. Gen. James Hecker during the 19th Air Force assumption of command ceremony June 23 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolp...
 
 

Air Force News – June 26, 2015

Alaska Firefighters from the 673rd Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson recently assisted with the Division of Forestry’s efforts in containing the Sockeye wildfire near Willow. The fire is estimated to cover more than 7,000 acres of land.   Virginia The 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games opened June 19 with about 250 athletes...
 

 

People First – June 26, 2015

EPME enrollment notifications begin The Air Force Personnel Center recently initiated a phased approach to notify approximately 83,000 Airmen of the requirement to enroll in the applicable enlisted professional military education distance learning course. AFPC will notify 20,000 Airmen at the beginning of each month until all members have been notified. In July 2014, the Air...
 
 

Air Force News – June 19, 2015

Poland In support of Baltic Operations 2015 June 5 through 20, a team of Airmen from the 1st Combat Communications Squadron deployed to Powidz Air Base, maintained communication requirements for the Air Force at the installation. Baltops is a multinational maritime exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability. Southwest Asia Since Aug. 8, coalition airpower...
 
 

People First – June 19, 2015

Selected MSgt evals close out Sept. 30 Regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve master sergeant and master sergeant-select enlisted performance reports will now close out annually on Sept. 30. In addition, as of June 3, , master sergeants and selects will no longer receive change-of-reporting-official EPRs. Enlisted Evaluation System and Weighted...
 




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>