Sunday, August 31, 2003
Aviator became rival to Wright Brothers
On Aug. 31, 1910, aviation pioneer Glenn Hammond Curtiss made the first U.S. airplane flight over water in Ohio. He flew his biplane over Lake Erie from Euclid Beach Park in Cleveland to Cedar Point in Sandusky. It took him 78 minutes to fly a distance of 70 miles, at an altitude between 400 and 500 feet.
A New York native, Curtiss was an unknown when he entered the first international aviation meet in Rheims, France, in 1909. The Wright brothers also entered. When Curtiss took top honors, a rivalry began. A patent dispute between Curtiss and the Wrights ended in a decision for the latter.
Curtiss started the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Co., which became the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world during World War I. Wright Aeronautical was incorporated in 1919. The two companies merged to become the Curtiss-Wright Corp. in 1929.
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