U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission home page
Wilbur and Orville Wright: A Chronology

1908 Fort Myer, Va.
Wright 1907 Machine

Orville left Dayton on August 19 for Washington, arriving there on August 20 to conduct acceptance tests with the Wright airplane for the U.S. Army.  Two mechanics also came from Dayton to assist Orville in the trials, Charles E. Taylor arriving on August 19 and Charles W. Furnas on August 21.  The Wright machine arrived on August 20 and the engine on August 25.  The period August 21-September 2 was spent in assembling the machine and testing the engine.  The committee which was to pass upon the trials consisted of Maj. George O. Squier, Maj. Charles S. Wallace, and Lts. Frank P. Lahm, Thomas E. Selfridge, and, Benjamin D. Foulois.  The fatal accident on September 17 terminated the test flights for the year.

DATE FLIGHT PILOT TIME DISTANCE ALTITUDE REMARKS
Sep 3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
OW
1 min. 11 sec.
1-1/2 times around field
35 ft.
Machine damaged in landing.  Flight witnessed by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
Sep 4
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
OW
4 min. 15 sec.
3 miles
40 ft.
 
Sep 7
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
OW
55 sec.
7/8 mile
 
 
Sep 8
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
OW
11 min., 10 sec.
13 times around field
 
 
2
OW
7 min., 34 sec.
8 times around field
 
Sep 9
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
OW
57 min. 31 sec.
57 times around field
110 ft.
Flight was world's record to date.
 
2
OW
62 min. 15 sec.
55 times around field
80 ft.
Witnessed by secretary of the Navy Victor H. Metcalf, secretary of Commerce and Labor Oscar S. Straus, and secretary of War Luke E. Wright.
 
3
OW
6 min. 24 sec.
6-1/2 times around field
60 ft.
Lt. Frank P. Lahm, passenger, his first flight in a heavier-than-air machine.  Three new world endurance records set: two for flights with pilot only, the third for pilot with passenger.
Sep 10
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
OW
1 hour 5 min. 52 sec.
58 times around the field
ca. 200 ft.
Broke duration record set on September 9.
Sep 11
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
OW
10 min. 50 sec.
9 times around field 11 K. 440 m.
 
2
OW
70 min. 24 sec.
57-1/2 times around field
Set new world endurance record.
Sep 12
 
 
 
 
 
Octave Chanute was among witnesses of flights.
 
1
OW
9 min. 6-1/3 sec.
 
 
Maj. George O. Squier, U.S. Signal Corps, passenger.  Flight established new world record for flight with two men.
 
2
OW
1 hour 14 min. 20 sec.
71 times around field
ca. 300 ft.
Set new world endurance record.
Sep 17
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
OW
ca. 3-4 min.
4-1/2 times around field
ca. 125 ft.
High winds prevented any flights on September 14, 15 and 16.  Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge, U.S. Army, passenger.  Plane crashed when one of the propellers split, causing it to lose pushing power and a stay wire to the tail was then torn loose, making the tail uncontrollable.  Lt. Selfridge was killed and Orville severely injured.  His left leg was fractured and four ribs were broken.