Heritage, Summer 2003 Page: 33
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BY DOUGLfS N-fRM-AN
Fort Worth and Texas have a long and rich aviation heritage
dating back to the beginning days of flight. There are
several simple explanations as to why Texas has been
extraordinarily active in aviation: weather, terrain, and
location. Texas has good year-round flying weather, and its
vast terrain was suitable for fostering growth and development
of an efficient air transportation system.
Every region of Texas has its own aviation history.
However, Fort Worth and North Central Texas have an
extraordinarily strong aviation heritage, and there are several
reasons for this. First, the area has a long-standing involvement
with military airbases and aircraft manufacturing. In
addition, the establishment of the Dallas/Fort Worth
International Airport in 1973 marked the region as an aviation
center for the entire country. But long before this, with
the introduction of canvas-covered flying machines in the
early 1900s, Fort Worth was able to establish itself as an aviation
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Fort Worth Star-Telegram publisher Amon G. Carter Sr.
brought the first aviators to Fort Worth in 1911 when he paid
$5,000 to a group of touring French aviators to perform at the
city's first air show. To the delight of 15,000 spectators, French
pilot Roland Garros was the first person to fly a powered
monoplane in the Texas city. (Garros later became famous in
World War I, after inventing a deflector device that allowed
flyers to fire bullets through the blades of an aircraft engine.
The device was not perfect as illustrated when he shot off his
propeller and crashed in the early days of the war.)
Carter loved aircraft and was one of the first citizen leaders to
see the potential importance of aviation to Fort Worth. "Amon
worshipped airplanes," Jerry Flemmons wrote in Carter's biography,
"the rattling gimmickry of them, their adventure, the sheer
thrill of being up there with those metaphorical canvas and baling
wire butterflies. Airplanes were the focal point of Amon's
life from the moment he saw one."
HERITAGE W. SUMMER 2003
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Summer 2003, periodical, Summer 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45377/m1/33/: accessed May 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.