Commemorating the Fathers of Modern Aviation
On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful flight in a mechanically propelled airplane near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. This achievement by the Wright Brothers would forever change aviation, and as such, December 17th is recognized as Wright Brothers’ Day.
The Wright Brothers became interested in aviation in the 1890s, and began building and testing gliders during 1900-1902 so that they could learn the importance of maintaining control of an aircraft, something that had alluded those innovators before them. Their first successful flight in 1903 was a plane powered by a propellor and a light engine that they had built. The Wright Brothers waited and perfected their invention for several years before revealing it to the world in 1908. From there, they received contracts with the military to build planes.
The Wright Brothers believed that planes would be used as a means of transporting people. Indeed today, they would probably be amazed at how far progress has come. At Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, we can see how over the years, we have developed and changed. The first flight from Phoenix was operated by Scenic Airways on a 14 seat aircraft in the 1920s. This flight took people from Phoenix to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.
As planes became larger to handle an increase in travelers, PHX Sky Harbor changed too. Terminal 1 was one of the more modern facilities of its time in 1952. Terminal 1 has since come and gone, but we’ve seen the construction of Terminals 2, 3, and the modern Terminal 4 in 1990. PHX Sky Harbor has also constructed and opened a consolidated Rental Car Center and a new state-of-the-art tower and TRACON facility was opened in 2007.
And, as we commemorate Wright Brother’s Day and the achievements that these two individuals have made upon aviation history, we can also look at how far the industry has come and even how far the airport has come since that historic day. To find out more about Sky Harbor’s history, click here.
Above, right is a postcard from 1910 promoting the “Second Aviation Meet in America.”