1909: Silver Dart makes aviation history
The flight took place on the frozen Bras d'Or Lake at Baddeck on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, near the home of AEA member Alexander Graham Bell. Before a crowd of astonished onlookers, McCurdy took off and piloted the plane for about half a kilometre along the shoreline before making a smooth landing.
• Besides McCurdy and Bell, the members of the AEA were engineer Casey Baldwin, motorcycle maker Glenn H. Curtiss, and Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge of the U.S. Army. In 1908, Selfridge died after crashing in a plane piloted by U.S. flight pioneer Orville Wright. He was the world's first aviation fatality.
• After 46 successful flights, the Silver Dart met its end during a demonstration in Petawawa, Ont. for the Canadian military in August 1909. The plane landed awkwardly, flipped over, and was destroyed beyond repair.
• To commemorate the 50th anniversary of that first flight, volunteers from the Royal Canadian Air Force built a replica which was flown at Baddeck on Feb. 23, 1959. The replica is on display at the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa.
Program: CBC News Roundup
Broadcast Date: Feb. 23, 1949
Guest(s): J.A.D. McCurdy
Reporter: Robert Brazil
Photo: National Archives of Canada / PA-061741
Last updated: January 24, 2012
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
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