When Orville Wright
made the first successful flight of an airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, no one could have envisioned the impact that the historic occasion would have on Hagerstown, Maryland
, and the tri-state area of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. When Sherman M. Fairchild bought controlling interest in Hagerstown’s Kreider-Reisner Aircraft in 1929, the stage was set for the newly formed Fairchild Aircraft to become a major contributor to the country’s World War II
efforts. In 1939, the company was awarded a contract to build 270 PT-19 trainers for the U.S. Army Air Corps. By the spring of 1944, Fairchild had manufactured more than 5,000 of the primary trainers, which became synonymous with the city of Hagerstown. When asked by the military to “put wings on a railroad boxcar,” Fairchild responded with various cargo aircraft including the C-82, the C-119, and the C-123. Fairchild’s contribution to the world of aviation
unofficially ended in March 1984 with the delivery of the last of the A-10s contracted by the U.S. Air Force. Over the course of its history in Hagerstown, Fairchild employed more than 50,000 men and women in the manufacture of military and civilian aircraft.
Wilbur and Orville Wright succeeded in the first manned heavier-than-air flight at Kitty Hawk NC in December 1903. Maryland was founded as a colony based on religious tolerance, with particular focus on Catholics. World War II was fought between the Allies and the Axis powers between 1939 and 1945. Americans Wilbur and Orville Wright conducted the first heavier-than-air flight and America has led in aviation innovations ever since.