Texas has been associated with the birthplace or the location of a number of aviation firsts, pioneers and historic events. The state’s often clear skies, advantageous weather and level ground made it a natural draw for the earliest aviators.

The roll call of pioneer aviators who lived and worked in Texas is lengthy and includes luminaries such as Jacob F. Brodbeck, who legend claims — reliable contemporary accounts are sketchy — flew a coiled spring “airship” near Luckenbach in 1865, or in San Antonio in 1866, depending on which account you choose to believe. L.L. Walker flew a monoplane from a field near Houston just a few years after the Wright Brothers made their historic ascent in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903. Fort Sam Houston became the earliest Army post for the new weapon of winged aircraft in the 1910s and served as the base for the Army’s air operations against Pancho Villa in 1916, and Bessie Coleman became one of the first and most famous female pilots.

East Texas Historical Assn. provides this column. Scott Sosebee is executive director,sosebeem@sfasu.edu.

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