After the first powered, manned flight by the Wright Brothers at
Kittyhawk in 1903, many would-be aviators across Western Canada
worked on their own inventions that looked more like kites than
the biplanes many think of today as the first aircraft.
Early pilots had to learn to fly on their own. They also had
to be able to carry out repairs on their own aircraft, which
were lightweight and made of bamboo and canvass. The strong
winds of the prairies often prompted early Alberta aviators to
replace their original engines with more powerful ones.
Yet it was these tiny machines that excited the imaginations
of those who watched them, and many attending summer fairs
dreamed of flying themselves. These early, precarious
demonstrations of flight were the first steps in creating a
whole new industry in Western Canada.