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Frenchman flies first plane in Texas

February
18
1910

On this day in 1910, a Frenchman, Louis Paulhan, made the first recorded airplane flight in Texas. The first people in the state to fly, in the 1860s, were air-show balloonists and their passengers, although several inventors were also busy with plans for winged flying machines. The alleged flight of Jacob F. Brodbeck in 1865 has become a Texas legend. After the Wright brothers' controlled airplane flights in 1903, aeronautical progress generally was slow until 1909-10, when European aviation made rapid strides and the United States government acquired its first aircraft. Aerial demonstrations proliferated at sites across America, including Houston, where Paulhan made his flight. Military aviation developed at the same time. Lt. Benjamin Foulois, a colorful pioneer pilot, arrived at Fort Sam Houston in February 1910, assembled the army's recently purchased Wright biplane, and took to the air on March 2, 1910. Almost a hundred years later, Texas continues to be a leader in civil and military aviation.

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