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Date Posted: Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Our photo archivist, Randy Goss, was organizing some of the photos from one of our Photograph Collections and found these great shots of Samuel P. Langley’s attempt to be the first man to fly.

These six pictures were taken October 7, 1903 on the Potomac River.  Langley was the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and he believed a manned flight would be safer over water. Unfortunately, as the pictures reveal, the attempt failed.

On December 17 of the same year, the Wright Brothers gained the distinction of being the first to fly when they kept their manned aircraft airborne for twelve seconds.

Our photo collections at the Archives contain approximately 800,000 photographs.  For a sample of our collections check out the website.


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