This Week in History
Cape Breton Man Flies Through Air!
|For the week of Monday February 23, 1998
On February 23, 1909, John A. D. McCurdy took to the air from the frozen surface of Nova Scotia's Bras d'Or Lake, making the first powered flight anywhere in the British Empire. McCurdy was one of the group of friends of Alexander Graham Bell who called themselves the Aerial Experiment Association (AEA). Years of experimenting had taught the AEA – Glenn H. Curtiss, F.W. (Casey) Baldwin, Lieut. Thomas E. Selfridge, McCurdy, and Alexander Graham Bell – enough about aerodynamics to build small planes. Although the Silver Dart was little more than a motor with wings, it carried McCurdy 800m (2600 feet) over the frozen waters of Baddeck Bay, the first manned flight in Canadian history. McCurdy's flight was part of the wide range of scientific activities of his friend and patron Alexander Graham Bell.
One of the most influential scientists of his time, Bell's work is commemorated at the Alexander Graham Bell Homestead, his parents' home in Brantford, Ont., and at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum at Baddeck, Nova Scotia. This museum, built on a hill overlooking the scene of the Silver Dart's flight, contains thousands of artifacts representing many of Bell's experiments. In addition to the commemorations of Alexandre Graham Bell, there is also a national plaque at Baddeck commemorating John A. D. McCurdy and honouring his aviation achievements.
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