The Golden Flyer was a small, effective aircraft built and
manufactured by Glen Curtiss, who was well known as an inventor
and builder of motorcycle engines. Starting as a teenager,
Curtiss built and raced his own motorcycles, constructing
powerful, lightweight engines. By 1907, Curtiss became known as
the "Fastest Man on Earth," when he rode his motorcycle to a
speed of 219.4 kilometres per hour.
Curtiss worked with
Graham Bell, who invented the telephone and established the
Association in 1907. While carrying out experiments, the
Association developed flaps on the wings and rudders that
assisted in controlling flight. These inventions were critical
to making flight practical and safe.
The Association won the Scientific American Trophy
when they successfully flew their aircraft, the "June Bug", for
a distance of over one kilometre in the United States. The
Aerial Experiment Association also built the "Silver
Dart," which was the first powered and controlled aircraft
flown in Canada and the British Commonwealth.
By 1909, Curtiss had developed his own aircraft, which he
named the, "Golden Flyer" because of the colour of its wings. In
that year he demonstrated how effective his design was when he
won the Gordon Bennet Trophy and a prize of $5,000 at the Rheims Air Meet in France. He had the best speed of 75.6
kilometres per hour over a triangular course of ten kilometres,
which he flew around two times.
The early Curtiss Golden Flyer had a wingspan of 8.76 metres,
and a length 9.25 metres. The aircraft had a 25-horse power,
four-cylinder engine built by Curtiss and the small aircraft
weighed 249.48 kilograms.
Some of the early aviation pioneers that came to Alberta to
demonstrate flight, like Bob St. Henry and Howard Le Van,
purchased and flew the Curtiss Golden Flyer.