Grand Forks Aviation History

Grand Forks, North Dakota has a rich aviation history.  After the Wright Brothers historic first flight in North Carolina in 1903, the entire country became caught up with aviation fever.  The Wright Brothers soon formed a school that taught pilots to fly their airplanes.  In 1910, Grand Forks leaders contracted one of the Wright Brothers’ pilots, Archibald Hoxsey, to fly at the Grand Forks summer fair.  Hoxsey’s arrival and flights at the 1910 Grand Forks Fair were milestones for the area.  Hoxsey’s flights were the first in North Dakota, and they garnered headlines in the local newspaper for four straight days and brought huge audiences to the fair.  The next year, in 1911, Thomas McGoey made his first flights and became the first native North Dakotan to pilot an airplane.  Flying really boomed after World War I, when pilots and airplanes from the war came back to the States.  Finally, a series of air tours reinforced the dependability of airplanes for commercial air travel and delivering the mail.  Many towns across the United States scrambled to develop airfields to handle the booming air industry.  Grand Forks, which had always considered itself a leader in the region, was no exception.

Early Events in Grand Forks Aviation History

 

 

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