Just as the 20th century dawned, a new age of mankind was dawning. Near the end of 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright accomplished a previously insurmountable task that would alter the course of humanity for the next century and beyond. On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers took flight in their flying machine.
The dream to touch the sky was a dream no longer, and it was only a matter of time until the President of the United States grasped the import of the development. Nearly a decade after the Wright brothers took the first flight in human history, former President Theodore Roosevelt became the first President to ever fly.
At the time, Roosevelt had been out of office for over a year. At a county fair in St. Louis, Missouri in 1910, President Roosevelt was flown over the crowd. Although a rather inconspicuous occasion, this would be the historic first for presidential air travel. The brief trip was made in a Wright Flyer by Archibald Hoxsey, who himself worked for the Wright Brothers. The Wright Flyer is the comparatively primitive airplane the Wright Brothers designed to enable air travel. The first airplane was born of the Wright Brothers’ experimentation with gliders, which ultimately led them to attach a propulsion system.
After President Roosevelt’s flight, presidential aviation didn’t really pick up any momentum for over two decades. Although Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to ever take to the sky, it would be his distant cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who would be in office for the birth of presidential air travel as we know it today.