North Dakota

First Airplane Flight at Grand Forks

A North Dakota man, Archie Hoxey, who had flown with the Wright Brothers, was credited in 1910 with the first airplane flight at Grand Forks. His first passenger was Frank Kent. Many prior attempts to fly were noted across the United States by inventors and 30 deaths were reported by 1910.

First North Dakota Commercial Airline Service

February 1928-Airmail activity in the United States in the 1920's started commercial passenger and cargo aviation. The building of airport runways and terminals in North Dakota lagged behind the rest of the country due to the community's lack of legislative authority to spend public monies. In 1927, a civic-minded banker donated 160 acres (Hector Field) to the City of Fargo. A private sector investor in Grand Forks near the University of North Dakota established runways, hangars and offices. In 1927, Minot purchased land for the airport through the park board. In 1929, Bismarck City leased an 80-acre tract for an airport. Due to the limited airfield facilities, North Dakota's first commercial airline service was a customs stop at Pembina on a Winnepeg to Minneapolis flight in February 1928. By 1932, air mail and passenger service had been established at Fargo, Grand Forks, Pembina, Valley City, Jamestown, Bismarck and Dickinson through Northwest Airways.

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North Dakota aviation pioneer Carl Ben Eielson (1897 - 1929) is known as the Father of Alaskan Aviation. Among his exploits were his exploration of and the first successful flight over the North Pole.

 

Aviation Firsts Logo

Other North Dakota Aviation Pioneers

1911- Tom McGory of Grand Forks built his own Curtiss-type airplane using a kitchen chair as a swivel cockpit.

1911-Robert C. St. Henry or "Lucky Bob" was one of the first public performers at Fargo and Minot shows.

1912-Otto Timm of Kenmare built his first pusher type plane. Timm, while at Lincoln, Nebraska, gave Charles Lindbergh his first airplane ride.

1928-Florence "Tree Tops" Klingensmith, Fargo, North Dakota, was the state's first licensed woman flyer. She gained national fame as a stunt flyer and racer.

1928-Carl Ben Eielson, Hatton, North Dakota, the most highly acclaimed ace of North Dakota's early state aviators, flew over the arctic ice caps.