This week in history – March 19, 1910: The Wright Brothers opened their first flying school near Montgomery, Ala.

  • Published
  • By AFNWC Historian
  • Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center
Wilbur and Orville Wright operated flying schools from 1910 to 1916, when they trained more than 100 pilots, including the earliest military pilots. Because winter weather in Dayton, Ohio, was unfavorable for flying, the Wrights began looking for a location to host their first pilot training school. With the prospect of good weather and a free training facility, the Wrights made Montgomery, Ala., their first school site. The Wright's aircraft arrived by train in Montgomery on March 15, 1910. Their first students and mechanic arrived March 19. However, only one student completed flight training, as ironically, weather and mechanical problems plagued the school. The Wrights closed the Montgomery school in May 1910 and returned their flight training to Dayton. The Army's air service took over the site in World War I to serve as a repair depot. Its role changed with the developing needs of the service. On Nov. 8, 1922, the site was designated "Maxwell Field," in honor of Lt. William C. Maxwell, an Alabamian killed in an aircraft accident in the Philippines.