World Aviation in 1908

13 January
Henry Farman wins the Deutch-Archdeacon Prize of 50,000 francs for the first officially observed circular flight of one kilometre in Europe.

10 February
The United States Army signs a contract with the Wright brothers for the construction of a Wright Model A biplane.

14 May
Charles W. Furnas of Dayton in Ohio, becomes the first aircraft passenger. One of the Wright brothers’ mechanics, Wilbur Wright took him on a flight of 1,968 feet which lasted 29 seconds at Kill Devil Hills in Kittyhawk, North Carolina.

10 June
The Aeronautical Society of New York, the first flying club, opens with facilities at Morris Park Racetrack.

8 July
A Frenchwoman Madame Thérèse Peltier becomes the first woman to fly as a passenger in an aeroplane when she is taken up by Léon Delagrange in a Voisin biplane.

8 August
One of the Wright brothers, Wilbur Wright, makes his first European flight at Le Mans in France in the new two-seat Model A.

3 September
The United States Army begins flight trials of the Wright brothers’ Wright Model A begin at Fort Myer.

17 September
Lieutenant Thomas Etholen Selfridge of the United States Army Signal Corps, becomes the first person to be killed in a powered aeroplane when the Wright biplane in which he is a passenger crashes at Fort Myer. The pilot, Orville Wright, is badly injured.

21 September
Wilbur Wright makes first significant long distance flight by covering 66 kilometres (41 miles)

31 December
One of the Wright brothers, Wilbur Wright, wins the Michelin prize with a flight of 124 kilometres (77 miles) at Camp d’Auvours in France. The flight lasts 2 hours 20 minutes 23 seconds.

Also this year…
The first Gnome rotary aero-engine is produced.