Orville Wright's Final Flight

Curt Dalton, Local historian
last updated 04/26/2020
Orville Wright's Final Flight

On April 26, 1944, Orville Wright climbed into a C-69. Do you know the fascinating story behind Orville Wright's final flight?

Orville Wright's Final Flight

The fascinating story behind Orville Wright's final flight

Photo credit AAF: Orville Wright climbing into a C-69 Lockheed Constellation for his last flight

On April 17, 1944, Howard Hughes and TWA (Trans World Airlines) president Jack Frye flew a prototype Lockheed Constellation airliner from Burbank, California, to Washington, D.C., in 6 hours and 58 minutes, breaking the transcontinental speed record, and averaging 331mph.

On April 26, during the return trip, the aircraft stopped at Wright Field in Dayton to pick up a very special passenger: Orville Wright.  More than 40 years after his historic first flight, Wright even sat at the controls of the airplane during his final 50-minute flight over Dayton, albeit for just a few brief moments. 

"I guess I ran the whole plane for a minute but I let the machine take care of itself," Wright said of the experience. "I always said airplanes would fly themselves if you left them alone." 

Wright also pointed out that the Constellation’s 123-foot wingspan was longer than the distance of his first flight, which had traveled just 120 feet.

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