WIGGINS-FITZ COLLECTION
No. 4187. Aerial Experiment Association Aerodrome No. 4 Silver Dart
Photographed at Baddeck Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada, February 23, 1909, source unknown

Aerial Experiment Association Aerodrome No. 4 Silver Dart

03/31/2012. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "The Aerial Experimental Association (AEA) was formed by Alexander Graham Bell at his Canadian home in 1907. The AEA comprised of Frederick Walker "Casey" Baldwin, Glenn Hammond Curtiss, John Alexander Douglas McCurdy, and Lieutenant Thomas Etholen Selfridge. Financed by Bell's wife, Mabel Gardiner Hubbard Bell, the AEA aircraft were built at Hammondsport, New York.

AEA's fourth and last to fly aircraft, the Silver Dart single-seat open biplane, was designed by McCurdy. Of mixed steel tube, bamboo and wood construction, covered with silvery rubberized silk balloon-cloth, it was powered by a 50 hp Curtiss eight-cylinder water-cooled pusher V-engine driving a wooden propeller. The Silver Dart was first flown on June 21, 1908, by McCurdy.

The last of AEA's team efforts, the Silver Dart became the first airplane to fly in Canada on February 23, 1909, as pictured here with McCurdy at the controls. (This flight is often claimed as the first powered flight in the British Commonwealth, however, that was performed by Samuel Franklin Cody in the British Army Aeroplane No. 1 at Farnborough, England, on 16 October 1908).

Mid-1909 it was shown to Canadian Army officials at Petawawa, Ontario were on August 2, the aircraft was wrecked upon landing after its fifth flight of that day, McCurdy escaped injuries. The Silver Dart had flown an estimated 3,000 mls (4,828 km) in just over a year, an impressive achievement in those days.

To commemorate the first powered flight in Canada, a replica was built in 2009.

Created May 1, 2005