Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

The U.S. Army Signal Corps advertised for bids for a two-seat observation aircraft and in 1908 and 1909, the Wrights flew the Wright 1908 Military Flyer at official Army trials at Fort Myer, Virginia. On September 17, 1908, Orville Wright and Lieutenant Thomas Etholen Selfridge made a flight as a part of these trials. While in the air, a blade on the propeller broke and the aircraft fell from 75 feet up and landed on Wright and Selfridge. Both men sustained severe injuries. Wright broke a leg and several ribs, and Selfridge was taken off the field unconscious. Selfridge died shortly after the accident from his injuries and became powered flight's first fatality. The Army was to purchase the Wright (Co) Type A Military (Signal Corps No. 1) for $30,000 in 1909.

Collection Item Long Description:


Wright (Co) Type A Military (Signal Corps No. 1)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions on access


Clime, W. S


  • Wright, Orville 1871-1948
  • Knab, Frederick 1865-1918
  • Taylor, Charles Edward 1868-1956
  • Lahm, Frank Purdy 1877-1963
  • Selfridge, Thomas Etholen

Physical description

.5 cubic feet (1 folder)


  • 1908
  • 1908-1909


Fort Myer (Va.)


This collection consists of 45 black and white photographs, of varying sizes and including some duplicates, taken by photographer W. S. Clime at the 1908-1909 official army trials at Fort Myer, Virginia. Shown in the images are the Wright 1908 Military Flyer in flight and on the ground; the crash that injured Orville Wright and killed Thomas Selfridge; and Thomas S. Baldwin with an Army dirigible. Other persons shown in the photographs include mechanic Charles W. Taylor; Major George O. Squier; Lieutenant Frank P. Lahm; Lieutenant Benjamin D. Foulois; Augustus Post; and Mrs. M. Longworth. The collection also contains one unrelated photograph of A. Roy Knabenshue making a flight over Washington, D.C.

Cite as

Collection name, Accession XXXX-0904, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Repository Loc.

National Air and Space Museum, Archives Division, MRC 322, Washington, DC, 20560


  • Photographic prints
  • Collection descriptions

Local number