100 years of flight celebrated in Charlottetown
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the first plane to take flight on P.E.I.
A century of flight on P.E.I. was commemorated Monday morning in Charlottetown.
Sept. 24 marks the 100th anniversary of pilot Cecil "Bird Boy" Peoli's take-off from the Charlottetown exhibition grounds in the first airplane to take flight on the Island.
William Anderson, president of the P.E.I. division of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, said he scoured the Island archives for information about that first flight.
"They're rather flimsily put together, single engine," said Anderson, describing the pioneering aircraft. "The pilot usually sat in the front here. They weren't too dependable."
The single-engine, one-seat bi-plane called "The Red Devil," flying precariously through the air would have been quite a sight in 1912, said Anderson.
"It would be definitely strange," he said. "It would be like seeing the first jet aircraft or something, something flying without a propeller. It created a lot of interest."
The Charlottetown Civic Centre is commemorating the event with a plaque, featuring the plane's picture. Dave McGrath, general manager of the centre, said it's a big deal for aviation fans.
"I think history, well some people just enjoy it," he said, "I mean flight, first flight, that's pretty significant."
Anderson said it's fascinating to see how much things have changed.
"Now the rockets, now they've been out to space, they've been to the moon, now we've got little thing running around on Mars. It's all history and it just shows how far we've gone in that time," he said.
Atlantic Canada's history of flight
On Feb. 23 1909 the Silver Dart made Canadian aviation history taking off from Baddeck, N.S. in the country's first powered flight.
Engineer John McCurdy flew the plane over Baddeck Bay, covering one kilometre at an altitude of about five metres. McCurdy was part of the plane's design team led by inventor Alexander Graham Bell.
The biplane was built of wood and silk fabric and had a three-wheeled undercarriage, which enabled the machine to take off under its own power.
The Silver Dart's system of wing stabilizers is used in modern aircraft to this day.