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411   Orville Wright  $200 $578 $636 10 You must login to place a bid.

#411 - Orville Wright

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Wright witnesses a world record-setting altitude flight: “we mistook another plane, which appeared to land in the city, for the Douglas Torpedo”

TLS, one page, 7.25 x 10.5, personal letterhead, March 18, 1923. Letter to B. Russell Shaw of the National Aeronautic Association, in part: “I am sending enclosed the observers’ record. Mr. George B. Smith was also present at the start of this flight as an observer, but left the field before the landing, and so it was by the merest chance that any of us were present at the landing, as we mistook another plane, which appeared to land in the city, for the Douglas Torpedo.” Penciled note at bottom in unknown hand reads, “not included in report to F.A.I.” French Aeronautique Internationale was the world governing body on flight records.

Letter is still stapled into its original legal folder, which is labeled “Request for Homologation of World Record National Aeronautic Association U.S.A. Altitude With Useful Load of 1000 Kilograms Lt. Rutledge Irvine Dayton, Ohio April 17, 1923.” Thirteen other related pages are stapled into the folder as well, including a typed Statement from Official Observers Orville Wright and his brother Lorin Wright, in English and French. Also included: a TLS, signed “George K. Burgess,” Director, Bureau of Standards, Department of Commerce, June 2, 1923, to B. Russell Shaw of the competition committee, enclosing the report; carbon TLS from Shaw to the F. A. I. Secretary General, June 6, 1923, submitting the four-page report; and a weight certification of the load, each in English and French. In fine condition, with expected wear and some light creasing and toning.

Near McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio, Orville Wright observed Navy Lieutenant Rutledge Irvine set a new world record on April 17, 1923, when he ascended to a height of 11,609 feet with a load of 2,405 pounds. While the altitude weight carrying record was not quite the spectacle of many other records in aviation, it was of great importance in connection to the development of the torpedo planes for service requirements. Superior maneuverability under full-load conditions was of the utmost importance to military pilots, making this record incredibly significant. A wonderful collection of observers’ statements submitted to the NAA, including the articulate and crisply signed account by Orville Wright. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.

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