Today is the 112 anniversary of the beginning of aviation in Northwest Arkansas!
On a crisp, fall day all those years ago, a local store owner named James Fulbright decided to help bring the future to this part of the state.
Thus, he contacted and hired Glenn Luther Martin, an aspiring aviator, to bring his Curtiss Pusher airplane to the Washington County Fairgrounds for an aviation demonstration.
On October 5, 1911, Glenn Luther Martin got into his airplane to fly over the field.
A Curtiss “pusher” was an early bi-plane model. It was built like a typical airplane; however, it had a propulsion engine on the back of it to “push” it forward.
This was one of the most popular aircraft during the early days of flight.
Martin often built his airplanes, and it is believed that he built the Curtiss Pusher which he flew that day at the fairgrounds.
With the introduction of flights to Washington County on October 5, the aviation world only skyrocketed for Fayetteville.
Just a few miles south of the fairgrounds, a grassy field nestled in the mountains was dubbed an airstrip 20 years later. On it, the Civilian Pilot Training Program based its program and taught hundreds of local Arkansan college students how to fly.
Later, this airstrip became the home of one of Arkansas’s first commercial airlines, Scheduled Skyways. This was founded by Ray Ellis who was the former leader of the Civilian Pilot Training unit once based there.
The first FBO for this airport was none other than the historic White Hangar that is still standing at Drake Field today. It is the sight of our very own Arkansas Air and Military Museum.
If you have an interest in Arkansas aeronautics, come and visit us as we display Arkansas aviation history of the past 112 years!
So much growth has been made in Arkansas aviation since that first flight on October 5, 1911, so here’s to our next 112 years of aviation progress to come!
Happy Fayetteville Aviation Day!