Virginia

First Aviation-only Exhibition

June 8, 1907 - The first exhibit building in history devoted exclusively to aviation was built for the Jamestown Exhibition, the 300th Anniversary of the settlement.

First Wright Flyer Delivered to Army

August 20, 1908 - The first Wright Flyer built for the Army was delivered to Fort Myer, Virginia, by Orville Wright.

First Military Test of an Aircraft

September 9-17, 1908 - The first military test flight of an aircraft was made from the Fort Myer's grounds. Orville Wright succeeded in keeping the Wright Flyer aloft for one minute and 11 seconds. After more than four minutes in the air, the second test flight ended with a tragic crash. Orville Wright was severely cut and bruised and his passenger, Lt. Thomas Selfridge, became the first powered-aviation fatality. Selfridge is buried in Section 3, Lot 2158, Grid QR-13/14 of Arlington National Cemetery.

First NACA Facility

1920 - NACA (NASA) establishes its first research facility at Langley Field.

Orville Wright and Plane Collage
In 1903, at Kitty Hawk, Orville Wright made the first successful flight, which lasted 12 sec, in a self-powered craft. On September 9, 1908, at Fort Meyer, Virginia, he simultaneously established several records when he flew the first Wright plane made under government contract for 62 min, completing 57 circles at an altitude of 36.6 m (120 ft); he became an immediate international celebrity.

Aviation Firsts Logo

First Battleship Airplane Takeoff

November 14, 1910 - The first battleship airplane takeoff is made by Eugene Ely from the U.S.S. Birmingham anchored in Willoughby Bay in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

First U.S. Aircraft Carrier Commissioned

March 20, 1922 - The nation's first aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Langley was commissioned in Norfolk, Virginia.

First Aviator to Fly Over Both Poles

1926 - Famed Virginia, Admiral Richard E. Byrd flies over the South Pole and the North Pole, thus becoming the first aviator to fly over both Poles.

First 50th Celebration of Powered Flight

May, 1953 - Virginia becomes the first in the nation to officially recognize the 50th Anniversary of powered flight by observing a state-wide celebration culminating with a spectacular airshow at Byrd Field in Richmond.