Sunday, 18 October 2009

Wilbur in France, 1908

No 24 in an occasional series of extracts from The Postcard Century

Aug 1908: America conquers Europe in this defining image in the public history of aviation. Wilbur Wright flies past the grandstand at Harandières racecourse to give the first demonstration of sustained and controlled powered flight. The brothers had made few flights since the 1903 triumphs at Kitty Hawk; while this display had a commercial motive it inspired a whole generation of heroic aviators, especially in France. Wilbur died young but Orville lived to hear of the Hiroshima bomb being dropped from an aeroplane.

Mr Munro in London received this card from J. T. Morgan in P.O. Seine, probably his first glimpse of a wonder of the age. Wright was showing the paces of the Flyer in the most advanced country in aeronautics at the time.

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