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A Strange New Bird: The Airplane Comes to Alabama

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This podcast is part of the series: ArchiTreats: Food for Thought


Billy J. Singleton


Alabama Department of Archives and History


ArchiTreats: Food for Thought continues another year of informative talks on Alabama history at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Join us as Billy J. Singleton presents A Strange New Bird: The Airplane Comes to Alabama.

The first century of powered flight in Alabama began in February 1910 with the arrival of Wilbur Wright in the capital city of Montgomery. In search of a suitable location to establish a spring training camp for student aviators, Wright selected Montgomery as the site of the nation’s first civilian pilot training school because of the region’s genial climate and suitable grounds. The establishment of the Wright flying school marked the beginning of a remarkable aviation heritage in Montgomery, a legacy further enhanced by the evolution of military aviation on the former site of the flying school of the Wright Brothers. The same factors that attracted the Wrights to Montgomery made the area an ideal location for the establishment of military flight training and aerospace education programs, and formed the foundation of the first century of powered flight in Alabama.

Billy Singleton has been involved in the aviation industry for more than three decades. Recently retired as a pilot for a major airline, he continues to fly as a corporate pilot based in Birmingham. A native of Alabama, Singleton serves as chairman of the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame, vice-chairman of the Wright Brothers / Maxwell Field Museum project, and member of the Board of Directors of the Southern Museum of Flight. He received a bachelor’s degree from Troy State University and a Master of Aeronautical Science degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is the author of Images of Aviation: Montgomery Aviation and num erous articles relating to aviation history and safety.

This ArchiTreats presentation is made possible by the Friends of the Alabama Archives. The public is invited to bring a sack lunch and enjoy a bit of Alabama history. Coffee and tea will be provided by the Friends of the Alabama Archives. For more information, call (334) 353‐4726.

Length: 50:13

Content Areas: Social Studies

Alabama Course of Study Alignments and/or Professional Development Standard Alignments:

SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
3. Identify causes and consequences of World War I and reasons for the United States' entry into the war.
Examples: sinking of the Lusitania, Zimmerman Note, alliances, militarism, imperialism, nationalism
  • Describing military and civilian roles in the United States during World War I
  • Explaining roles of important persons associated with World War I, including Woodrow Wilson and Archduke Franz Ferdinand
  • Analyzing technological advances of the World War I era for their impact on modern warfare
  • Examples: machine gun, tank, submarine, airplane, poisonous gas, gas mask
  • Locating on a map major countries involved in World War I and boundary changes after the war
  • Explaining the intensification of isolationism in the United States after World War I
  • Example: reaction of the Congress of the United States to the Treaty of Versailles, League of Nations, and Red Scare
  • Recognizing the strategic placement of military bases in Alabama (Alabama)
    SS2010 (11) United States History II: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    1. Explain the transition of the United States from an agrarian society to an industrial nation prior to World War I. [A.1.a., A.1.b., A.1.c., A.1.d., A.1.e., A.1.f., A.1.i., A.1.k.]
  • Interpreting the impact of change from workshop to factory on workers' lives, including the New Industrial Age from 1870 to 1900, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the Pullman Strike, the Haymarket Square Riot, and the impact of John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Samuel Gompers, Eugene V. Debs, A. Philip Randolph, and Thomas Alva Edison


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