And don't forget that the Wright Model "B" Flyer an early two-seater killed almost every pilot that flew it.
Negative Jack... Selfridge was killed in a Wright model A flyer not the Wright
model B and the crash was not due to pilot error or a stability flaw rather it
was a mechanical...
When Orville Wright came to Fort Myer to demonstrate the Wright Flyer
for the US Army Signal Corps division, Selfridge arranged to be a
passenger while Orville piloted the craft. On September 17, 1908, the
Wright Flyer circled Fort Myer 4½ times at 150 feet. Halfway through
the fifth circuit, at 5:14 in the afternoon, the right propeller
broke, losing thrust. This set up a vibration, causing the split
propeller to hit a guy wire bracing the rear vertical rudder. The wire
tore out of its fastening and shattered the propeller; the rudder
swiveled to the horizontal and sent the Flyer into a nose-dive.
Orville shut off the engine and managed to glide to about 75 feet, but
the Flyer hit the ground nose first.
Orville later described the accident that killed Selfridge in a letter
to his brother, Wilbur:
On the fourth round, everything seemingly working much better and
smoother than any former flight, I started on a larger circuit
with less abrupt turns. It was on the very first slow turn that
the trouble began. ... A hurried glance behind revealed nothing
wrong, but I decided to shut off the power and descend as soon as
the machine could be faced in a direction where a landing could be
made. This decision was hardly reached, in fact I suppose it was
not over two or three seconds from the time the first taps were
heard, until two big thumps, which gave the machine a terrible
shaking, showed that something had broken. ... The machine
suddenly turned to the right and I immediately shut off the power.
Quick as a flash, the machine turned down in front and started
straight for the ground. Our course for 50 feet was within a very
few degrees of the perpendicular. Lt. Selfridge up to this time
had not uttered a word, though he took a hasty glance behind when
the propeller broke and turned once or twice to look into my face,
evidently to see what I thought of the situation. But when the
machine turned head first for the ground, he exclaimed 'Oh! Oh!'
in an almost inaudible voice.
Wright Model B... 1910 to 1914
The Wrights add another first... First aircraft fatality in a Model A flyer...
Wright A Flyer was good enough to race at the 1909 Great Air Meet Rhiems...