Wilbur Wright is a hero after his successful flight to France, August of 1908. The French Parliament and the Aero Club of France, the brothers awarded medals in their honor. Wilbur broke several distance, altitude and duration records before the end of that year. Wilbur allowed more than 40 passengers in altitude during that time; old friend, prospective business leads, a young boy, and the very first female airplane passenger, Ms. Hart Berg, wife of dealmaker who The Wrights had put in contact with the government of France.
However, he resumed flights very carefully. He refused to accept any challenge to the author of the Daily Mail of London to fly across the English Channel. Instead, he stayed aloft for the record of two hours and18 minutes, 33 seconds on Dec. 31st, an adjustment to end a wonderful year. In total, he had created nine records before January 2, 1909.
On 12 January 1909, Katharine, Wilbur’s sister, and Orville, who was leaning on his two canes because of injuries from a crash at Ft. Myer the previous year, came to France. The two brothers and their sister Katharine met with King Alfonso from Spain, King Victor Emmanuel from Italy and England’s Edward VII. Word of the achievements flew home fast to Dayton.
April 1, 1909, the two brothers were in Cento Elle, Italy to form the two pilots with the Army of Italy on the new plane that came from Ohio. During one flight, Wilbur escorted a reporter with him; he filmed the first footage of a plane in flight.
Leaving Italy, the two brothers visited England briefly before leaving to go home, where work on the contract with the American army was awaiting them. While visiting England, they contracted an English balloon manufacturer to construct six Wright crafts for a variety of clients outside the French union.
Three brothers went to New York, May 11, where huge crowds welcomed. When they went at Dayton, May 13, the same welcome was waiting for them. President Taft also sent a message asking them to visit Washington, DC to accept a medal from the United States government.
But in the end, they both returned to work building the first American military plane. When he finished, and with a brief break for a ceremony in honor them on June 17, the two head to Ft. Myer, Virginia, to demonstrate a military Flyer to the U.S. Army. The flyer was ready to be displayed on June 24, but they waited until certain all was right in spite of the spectators that came to watch.
Orville took flight June 29. There was a shaky beginning and struck a tree, which damaged the aircraft. But it has repaired and he regained his calm. July 12, he started to fly without problems. On 27 July, he set another new record time, the flight of an hour 12 minutes with Lt. Lahm with him. This did exceed a requirement of the Army staying aloft for an hour with passengers on board.
Wright Flyer of 1909 was then formally accepted on August 2, 1909, designated as Signal Corp Airplane No. 1, to be the first military plane.
Following the approval of the plane, the Army then moved the aviation activities into College Park, Maryland, which could handle a larger field of flight.
In October, Wilbur started giving flight lessons. Wilbur installed the addition of levers in the plane beside the student’s seat so that they would be able to take control.
Humphreys solo, October 26 two minutes became the first “pilot”. Wilbur was happy with the flights the next few days; he took Ms. Van Deman, the wife of Capt. Ralph Van Deman with the 21st Infantry
During this time, the brothers flying Foulois instructions mailed a couple of times. Early 1911, the planes were in bad condition, were ransacked by Foulois and rebuilt several different times, and were removed from service further.
Read also: The History of Airway Lighting