BELOIT (WRN) - It was 100 years ago Wednesday when Wisconsin’s first airplane flight took off in Beloit. Arthur Warner, a self taught engineer, was the first private individual to buy an aircraft from pioneer Glenn Curtiss. And he put it in the air at a spot where Morgan Elementary School now sits. It only went 50 feet up, and it went a quarter-mile in a straight line before coming down. Warner repeated the jump about a half dozen times that day. Tom Crouch of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington said it happened 6 years after the Wright Brothers made their historic flight in North Carolina. He said the time gap was no surprise, because the Wright Brothers were secretive about their activities for fear that someone would steal their invention before it was patented. That finally happened in 1908, a year before Wisconsin’s maiden flight. Before that, Warner invented a meter which measured the speed of industrial equipment. Among other things, he and his brother invented the first auto speedometer. In 1912, Warner sold his plane to one of Curtiss’s exhibition pilots, who flew it around the nation. Wednesday, his first flight will be re-enacted at the Beloit school where it took off 100 years ago. The event will also feature a fly over by the National Guard. Wednesday night, a program will take place at the Beloit Historical Society. And on Saturday, Crouch will talk about Warner’s historic flight at Beloit College.
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