The Wright Flyer (seen here in a test flight at Fort Myer in 1908) met the grade, and in 1909 it became Signal Corps Airplane No. 1--which also made it the first official military airplane.
Writes Raines: "In the air, the Signal Corps combined its two incipient technologies by installing wireless equipment in airplanes. In 1911 a message was successfully transmitted from an Army airplane over a distance of two miles; a year later the distance had increased to fifty miles. Improvement came steadily. By 1916 a pilot at the San Diego school was sending signals and messages from an airplane over 140 miles distant, and plane-to-plane communication was achieved for the first time."
October 4, 2010 11:00 AM PDT
Photo by: U.S. Army
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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