When powered flight was invented in 1903 by the Wright brothers,
and the efforts of the Aerial Experiment Association developed
critical mechanisms needed to control powered flight, many still
did not believe that aircraft could contribute much as a weapon.
To test if aircraft had any military value, Glenn Curtiss
started to experiment with bombing runs in June 1910 using his
Golden Flyer. His military experiments continued on 20 August
1910 near New York City at the Sheepshead Bay Racetrack when
Lieutenant James Fickel fired a gun at a target at one hundred
feet away while flying on a Golden Flyer piloted by Glenn
Other experiments included taking off from a warship, firing
a machine gun while in flight, and landing on a platform on a
warship using Curtiss-like biplanes or Wright Flyers in late
1910 and early 1911.
As the First World War approached in 1914, aircraft were
viewed as a potentially effective tool for reconnaissance, and
some minor bombing and gunnery. They later proved they would
play a much more crucial role.