The 2003 First Flight Commemorative Coins – the one dollar, half dollar and $10 gold – highlight the Wright Flyer on the reverse.
Let’s take a step back in history and review an article from a 1909 newspaper, The Evening Telegram, St. John’s Newfoundland on August 10.
The article titled “What Aeroplanes Have Done to Date” listed several of the Wright Brothers’ achievements along with other men’s accomplishments with flight.
12/17/1903: Wright brothers in air 50 seconds
09/29/1905: Wright brothers stayed in air 38 minutes, 3 seconds
10/23/1906: Santos-Dumont won Archdeacon prize of $10,000 for a flight of 164 feet
01/13/1907: Henri Farman won the Deutsche-Archdeacon prize of $10,000 for flight of circular kilometer in 1 minute, 28 seconds
03/21/1907: Farman took up De Lagrange and flew two miles in 3 minutes, 21 seconds
05/27/1908: De Lagrange flew 10 miles
07/04/1908: Curtiss, in the June Bug, flew one mile and won the Scientific American trophy
07/07/1908: Farman won Armangaud’s prize for remaining in air 20 minutes, 20 seconds
08/02/1908: Farman, at Brighton Beach, NY, went 700 yards in 40 seconds
09/03/1908: Orville Wright at Washington covered two-thirds of a mile in one minute; his brother, Wilbur, at Le Mans, France, covered 6 miles in 10 minutes
09/05/1908: At Le Mans, Wilbur Wright covered 15 miles in 20 minutes
09/06/1908: De Lagrange made 24 miles in 29 minutes, 55 seconds near Paris
09/07/1908: De Lagrange in air 31 minutes
09/09/1908: Orville Wright made 40 miles in 57 minutes, 31 seconds at Fort Meyer
09/12/1908: Orville Wright in air 1 hour, 31 minutes
09/21/1908: Wilbur Wright in air 1 hour, 31 minutes
12/19/1908: Wilbur Wright in air 1 hour, 53 minutes, 59 seconds at Le Mane, covering 61.5 miles
12/21/1908: Wilbur Wright makes world’s record at Le Mane by flight of two hours, 20 minutes, 23 seconds
07/19/1909: Hubert Lathem flew from Calais, France, 12 miles across English Channel, dropping into the sea
07/25/1909: M. Bleriot crossed the English Channel at the rate of nearly a mile a minute in his monoplane
07/27/1909: Orville Wright, at Fort Meyer, broke world’s record of flight of aeroplane carrying passenger, by staying in air 1 hour, 12 minutes, 42 seconds, covering a distance of 50 miles
It is interesting what a difference a little more than a century makes.
From short flights at the beginning of the 20th century to people spending weeks at the International Space station while others work on passenger flights into space.
Wonder what Wilbur and Orville would think about today’s aviation that grew from their humble beginnings.
Take a look at their Wright Flyer as displayed on the one dollar, half dollar and $10 gold commemorative coins: