On This Day in Aviation History

September 17, 2010

On This Day in Aviation History: September 17th

The wreck of the first crash in aviation, resulting in the death of Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge.

The wreck of the first crash in powered flight, resulting in the death of Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge.

1976 – NASA unveils the Space Shuttle Enterprise, the first space shuttle orbiter. Though not constructed to enter space (it was not built with engines or a proper heat shield), it was used for approach and landing tests Dryden Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The Enterprise currently resides as a museum piece at the Steve F. Udvar-Hazy Museum outside Dulles International Airport. 

1960: East African Airways launches jet service between Nairobi and London.

1959: North American X-15 rocket plane makes its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base.

1908 – The first airplane accident fatality occurs when the Wright Flyer crashes in Fort Meyer, Virginia. Flown by Orville Wright, its sole passenger was Thomas Selfridge, who died in the wreck. The right propeller broke, and though able to maintain a decent glide, the aircraft ultimately hit the ground nose-first. Selfridge, a US Army Lieutenant who was being introduced to the aircraft, sustained a head injury and died later that evening. Orville Wright remained hospitalized for weeks with various broken bones.

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