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The Aeroplane Takes Flight: Early Air Shows Captivate America

Evening Program

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0039
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Clifford Turpin, Wright Exhibition Pilot, 1911-1912 (Collection of Richards and James French)


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
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The fledgling aviators who followed in the steps of the Wright brothers were daring, dashing, and about to launch themselves into a whole new world of entertainment—the air show. The year was 1910, and the inventors sent out a team of barely trained pilots to perform and compete at air meets and state fairs to show off their wondrous new machine. There was stiff competition from fellow pioneer aviator Glenn Curtiss’ team and many others. The stakes and the risks were high. But there was also romance, thrills, and a lot of money to be made.

Aviation writer and filmmaker Paul Glenshaw draws on unique resources, including original material in private collections, as he leads a rollicking trip around the country at the dawn of the last century and the age of flight.

Glenshaw is a regular contributor to the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine, co-writer and producer of the PBS documentary Barnstorming, and co-writer and director of the documentary The Lafayette Escadrille. He was a longtime member of the Wright Experience team in Warrenton, Virginia, and executive director of the Discovery of Flight Foundation.

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