First Man-Carrying Aeroplane Capable of Sustained Free Flight-- Langley's Success as a Pioneer in Aviation

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.


Work discusses Samuel P. Langley, his work with the Smithsonian, his work in aviation and with the first airplanes, including history of the Langley Aerodrome (Aeroplane). Focuses on Charles D. Walcott's decision to allow Glenn H. Curtiss to recover and launch the Langley Aeroplane. Compares Langley's trials with the more recent attempt to achieve flight; explores the difficulties both in Langley's attempts, and those of Curtiss. Summarizes that Langley's airplane was indeed the first steam model airplane capable of prolonged free flight and that he developed the first man-carrying aeroplane capable of sustained free flight.


  • Langley, S. P (Samuel Pierpont) 1834-1906
  • Curtiss, Glenn Hammond 1878-1930


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Includes photographs of the Langley Aeroplane, 28 May 1914, 2 June 1914, 17 September 1914, 19 September 1914 and 1 October 1914.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Annual Report for 1914 (Book)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


  • Langley-Wright Controversy
  • Airplanes
  • Biography

Physical description

pp. 217-222

Full Record

View Full Record