Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

Archives at The Museum of Flight

Aerial Experiment Association



  • Existence: 1907-1909

Historical Note

The Aerial Experiment Association was founded by Alexander Graham Bell along with John Alexander Douglas McCurdy and Frederick W. Baldwin on October 1, 1907 at the Halifax Hotel in Nova Scotia. Glenn Curtiss was recruited as a member and Augustus Post assisted. U.S. Army Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge also was a member. The organization's purpose was to construct a practical flying machine driven through the air by its own power and carrying a man. Bell's wife Mabel Gardiner Hubbard Bell financed the organization.

The experiments had started near the Bells' home near Baddeck, Nova Scotia but in February 1908 they moved to Hammondsport, New York near Keuka Lake. The group's experiments began with tetrahedral kites. "Red Wing" was the group's first aerodrome, named for the maroon fabric of its wings, which flew 319 feet on March 12, 1908. It was followed by "White Wing" which flew May 17–23, 1908. The most successful design from the group was Glenn H. Curtiss's "June Bug" which won the Scientific American Cup, the first aeronautical prize awarded in the U.S., for a flight longer than a kilometer. Their fourth machine was "Silver Dart" and when McCurdy flew this on February 23, 1909 it became the first powered flight in Canada.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Alexander Graham Bell and the Aerial Experiment Association Photograph Collection

Identifier: 2018-10-01-B
Abstract 25 photographs of Alexander Graham Bell and other members of the Aerial Experiment Association along with their aerodrome aircraft; souvenir booklet of the association; 2 photomechanical prints signed by J.A. McCurdy.

Elizabeth S. Keast Photograph Collection

Identifier: 2011-00-00-17
Content Description The Elizabeth S. Keast Photograph Collection consists of 77 black-and-white photographs depicting aviation activities, planes, and personalities in the United States and Canada from about 1908-1930, as well as various other subjects.The collection is sub-divided by subject and files have been organized alphabetically. The first folder contains 29 prints of assorted aircraft. Of note are images of The Aerial Experiment Association's Red Wing, Silver Dart, and the Loon; two images of a...

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
Contact us with a research request