Learning Center Our Enshrinees

Thomas Etholen Selfridge


  • Appointed to the Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1903.
  • Assigned to Baddeck, Nova Scotia by President Theodore Roosevelt as an official observer to Dr. Alexander Graham Bell’s (enshrined 1965) kite experiments.
  • Aided in the formation of the Aerial Experiment Association formed in October of 1907 and  was elected Secretary.
  • Made his first flight in a large kite called “Cygnet I”. On December 6th, he laid in the center of the kite placed aboard a scow and was towed across lake Bras d’Or. When a strong wind arose, the kite left the scow and soared to a height of 168 feet. For seven minutes Selfridge remained aloft, making scientific readings until the wind dropped and the kite settled to the water.
  • Designed the Association’s first airplane called the Red Wing (because of its red silk covered wings) in 1908. Next, they built the White Wing, incorporating hinged ailerons, in which he made a successful flight becoming the first Army officer to make an airplane flight in America.
  • Won the Scientific American Trophy for a flight of over 1 Kilometer.
  • Assigned to an official Board responsible for tests of the Army Signal Corps’ first dirigible at Fort Myer, Virginia in 1908.
  • Assigned to a board that conducted the first trials of the Wright airplane.

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