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Wright Flyer sculpture marks Dutch aviation centennial

Monument unveiled in Brabant town

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ETTEN-LEUR, The Netherlands - Underscoring the worldwide nature of the Dayton, Ohio aviation heritage, the Netherlands held its own first flight centennial last summer by dedicating a full size, stainless-steel sculpture of a Wright Flyer that made the first powered flight over Dutch soil.

Attending the centennial as a representative of the Wright family was an enthusiastic Amanda Wright Lane, great-grand niece of the Wright brothers. The Cincinnati woman had come to Etten-Leur, where the first flight on Dutch soil took place.

The Wright flyer sculpture is mounted on a pedestal about 2,5 stories high and located in the middle of a roundabout, a typical European-style traffic intersection. A community group funded the project and students made the sculpture.

About 150 people attended the dedication.

Wilbur and Orville Wright invented their airplane in Dayton, Ohio and made the world’s first successful powered flights in North Carolina on December 17, 1903. Wilbur wowed Europe with their first public exhibition flights at Le Mans in August 1908 and established the first flying school at Pau, in southern France, in January 1909.

Heerma van Voss, a wealthy Dutch businessman, commissioned one of Wilbur’s first students, Charles count de Lambert, to make the first flight over Dutch soil. Descendents of the Van Voss family attended the ceremony, along with senior military and local government officials.