Texas Pecos Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program


Hangar 25 Museum, Big Spring
Hangar 25 Museum, Big Spring


The first alleged flight in the state remains shrouded in folklore. But if ever proven true, Texans would be able to claim the birthplace of air travel thanks to the flight experiments of a Texas inventor almost 40 years before the Wright Brothers' historic feat. Jacob Friedrich Brodbeck, a German immigrant and resident of San Antonio, supposedly created a life-size version of an "airship" he modeled comprised of a ruder, wings, and a windup propeller powered by coiling springs. The initial flight (in 1865 or 1868) took place in either San Pedro Park (where you may see a commemorative bronze bust of Brodbeck) or three miles east of Luckenbach. When and where may be in dispute, but the details of his flight remain consistent-the airship rose 12 feet into the air and traveled approximately 100 feet forward until the spring coils were exhausted and the airship crashed. Brodbeck survived the impact; his invention did not.

Texas has enjoyed a thriving aviation economy since, with commercial, military, private, and aerospace forces all driving the industrial engine. Like aviation history? Check out your local airport. Photographic and interpretive exhibits, even historic airplanes, are featured in a significant selection of the almost 800 public and private airports in the state.

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Project One Grand
Donor: Bruce Jamieson
Sound | 1956
Film courtesy Texas Archive of the Moving Image
See the entire film by clicking on the Texas Flag logo to the left of the sound function.

On August 21, 1956, Navy Commander R.W. "Duke" Windsor set a new national record by flying 1,1015.428 mph in an F8U-1 Cusader fighter plane. Presented by Chance Vought Aircraft Inc. in cooperation with the US Navy and produced by the Jamieson Film Company, Project One Grand details the history of the record breaking flight. Featured in the film are the design of the plane, equipment and methods used for timing the flight, and the course and procedures followed by the pilot.


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Read more about aviation in the Handbook of Texas Online.