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Fort Worth Flashback: Daring young man in his flying machine visited a century ago

Posted Dec. 2, 2012

First Flight

At the Fort Worth Driving Park, a race track situated roughly between today’s Office Depot and a Ross Dress for Less store off West Seventh Street, a Frenchman named Roland G. Garros lifted off in his Bleriot monoplane on Jan. 12, 1911.

Every other pilot at the Great Aviation Meet, a traveling troupe brought to town by publisher Amon Carter and other leading businessmen, refused to fly due to high winds.

But Garros, determined to please the 15,000 people who had paid 50 cents to watch a machine fly, pulled back on his stick and went airborne into 25 mph gusts, a dangerous decision because his plane couldn't fly a whole lot faster than that.

At 1,500 feet, he leveled off and took a “seven-mile, cross-country jaunt” and landed perfectly a few minutes later, according to news accounts.

This photo is in the Fort Worth National Bank archives.

The Fort Worth Library has approximately 10,000 items pertaining to the history of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. These items include city and county government documents, newspapers, directories, cemetery association records, maps as well as popular and scholarly books written by local authors or about local subjects. To learn more, call 817-392-7740 or email the Genealogy, History and Archives Section.

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