Wisconsin First Flight Centennials

1911 - Wisconsin's First Great Year of Flight

Wausau's John Schwister had completed building his airplane, had taught himself to fly, and on June 23, 1911, he did just that - he flew. Schwister's airplane became the first to fly in Wausau, Wisconsin. He was also the first of many pilots who would demonstrate the airplane to hundreds of thousands across Wisconsin that year. We call it Wisconsin's First Great Year of Flight.

A traveling display will highlight the accomplishments of the aviators who made the inaugural flights in these cities. The exhibit will debut at the 2011 Wisconsin Aviation Conference in Green Bay, Wisconsin, May 2-4.

1911's first flights were -
Date City Pilot
June 23 Wausau John Schwister
August 27 Kenosha Cromwell Dixon and Jimmy Ward
August 29 De Pere Charles Witmer
September 3 Appleton Cal Rodgers
September 13 Ashland Beckwith Havens
September 13 Menomonie Rene Simon
September 16 Manitowoc Beckwith Havens
September 19 Portage Charles Witmer
September 20 Antigo John Schwister
September 22 Chippewa Falls Beckwith Havens
September 30 Sheboygan Lincoln Beachey
October 19 La Crosse Hugh Robinson
October 19 Prairie du Chien Hugh Robinson

Other aviation firsts in Wisconsin that year include -
First flight beneath a bridge, Hugh Robinson
First fly-in breakfast, Hugh Robinson
First woman passenger, Cal Rodgers
First paying passengers, Cal Rodgers
First airplane / car race, Cal Rodgers
First homebuilt, John Schwister
First floatplane to fly off Wisconsin waters, Charles Witmer

The Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame has partnered with organizations across the state to bring aviation history alive with celebration of these long ago feats. Information regarding cities, dates, and events is available on the Wisconsin Aviation History blog and through various press releases.

Join in the celebration!

Beckwith Havens, 1911
Beckwith Havens, ca 1911
(WAHF photo)
Hugh Robinson, ca 1911
Hugh Robinson, ca 1911
(WAHF photo)
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