Fort Worth’s first flight to be celebrated Saturday
January 8, 2014
By Sarah Bahari -
On a windy January afternoon in 1911, Frenchman Roland Garros, a pilot with the Moissant International Aviators, flew a Bleriot XI aircraft above a crowd of 17,000 spectators in Fort Worth. The 104th anniversary celebration of the first powered flight in Fort Worth is 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, January 10 at First Flight Park, 2700 Mercedes Ave., behind Montgomery Plaza. Activities will include paper airplanes for children, presentation of colors by the Phoenix Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, remarks by guest speaker Vernon Anderson of Bell Helicopter, an aircraft flyover and a mass balloon launch.
“Even though we call it Cowtown, aviation transformed Fort Worth and North Texas from a rural, agricultural community into an industrial center,” said Jim Hodgson, executive director of the Fort Worth Aviation Museum. “Fort Worth would never be the same after that flight.”
After the 1911 flight, civic and business leaders, including Amon G. Carter Sr., continued to develop the aviation industry in Fort Worth, Hodgson said. In 1917, Carter and others lured the Canadian Royal Flying Corps to conduct pilot training here in the winter. And by October 1917, three military aviation training fields were built, near Saginaw, Benbrook and Everman.
In 1924, the Fort Worth Aviation Club was formed to establish a new municipal airport and encourage airmail and passenger service. Soon afterward, the city established a new airport on the north side, which became Meacham Field. In 1941, an Air Force plant was built, and Fort Worth became known as “Bomber Town,” entering the worldwide aircraft industry, Hodgson said.
For more information: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/article5647...