Remembering First Flight Coins on National Aviation Day

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:

First Flight Commemorative Coins Reverse with Wright Flyer