In the spring of 1907, Frederick W. (Casey) Balwin and John A.D.
McCurdy graduated in engineering from the University of Toronto.
They then travelled to Baddeck, Nova Scotia to discuss the
development of flight with
Graham Bell, who was known to be pursuing experiments in
aviation. Bell, best known for inventing the telephone, accepted
the two men as partners in his efforts to better develop forms
of controlled flight.
Bell saw an opportunity to create an association of skilled
inventors to work through these aeronautic puzzles, and formed
the Aerial Experiment
Association think-tank. Along with Balwin and McCurdy,
members included Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge from the United
States Army, who was to act as an observer.
Another key player of the Association was Glenn Curtiss, a
manufacturer of motorcycles who had expertise in the development
of small, powerful engines. Alexander Graham Bell and Glenn
Curtiss played leading roles in the development of aircraft,
which led up to the flight of the
Silver Dart in 1908.