Wright Brothers Flying School - Montgomery, Alabama
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member xptwo
N 32° 22.872 W 086° 21.236
16S E 560771 N 3582873
Quick Description: A stone monument marks the site of the hanger for the 1910 Civilian Flying School established and run by the Wright Brothers on a cotton field near Montgomery, Alabama.
Location: Alabama, United States
Date Posted: 4/29/2012 11:09:10 AM
Waymark Code: WMEAWA
Views: 10

Long Description:
Located on a small circular drive in front of Base Operations and Passenger Terminal at Maxwell Air Force Base, this marble marker marks the location of the nation's first civilian flying school. The text of the marker reads: "On this site in 1910 stood the hangar of the flying school of the first men to fly: the Wright Brothers"

The following information on the selection of the site comes from the Enclyclopedia of Alabama: (visit link)

"In the spring of 1910, aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright opened the nation's first civilian flying school on an old cotton plantation on the outskirts of Montgomery, Alabama. The flying school was short-lived, however, as mechanical and weather-related problems forced the brothers to close the facility earlier than planned. The location was later used for aircraft repair during World War I and on November 8, 1922, the installation became Maxwell Field.

Just seven years after the Wright's successful flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the monopoly they held on the flying market was being seriously challenged by other inventors of flying machines. In hopes of retaining a share of the newly emerging aviation market, the brothers formed a touring company to conduct flying exhibitions to promote the sale of their airplanes. The Wrights needed to train pilots who would fly in exhibitions and teach buyers how to fly. The weather in Dayton, Ohio, was unfavorable for flying in the winter, and Wilbur left home on February 11 in search of a place suitable for early spring pilot training. He visited several southern cities and, after a disappointing stop in Jacksonville, Florida, a local resident suggested that he try Montgomery, Alabama, which he described as having "mild climate and flat farmland."

Wilbur arrived in Montgomery on February 15 and visited several sites in the city before selecting the Frank Kohn plantation the next day. Not only did the Kohn property have the flat, level land he desired, it also was far enough from the city to provide some degree of seclusion. In addition, Kohn offered him free use of the land for three months, and the Montgomery Commercial Club (which later became the Chamber of Commerce) agreed to clear the land, build a hangar, and provide transportation to and from the field. After checking with the local weather bureau, Wright found that Montgomery had half the rainfall during this period that other potential cities did and an average wind velocity that was highly conducive to flight training. Together, these factors essentially settled the matter of locating the camp in Montgomery. As a result, Wilbur left for Dayton that evening, and he and his brother completed the arrangements for opening the school and shipping a plane to Montgomery."

While there is no date given on the photo of the hangar, the school was in operation from March to May of 1910, so the photo had to have been taken during that time period.
Year photo was taken: 1910

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