On October 11, 1910 Teddy Roosevelt became the first president to fly in an airplane. Well, technically he was an ex-president at the time. But that somehow makes it even more badass.
Roosevelt was known for his badassery, of course. And his flight with Arch Hoxsey in St. Louis, Missouri was no different. He reportedly didn’t want to make a big deal about it, despite the fact that powered flight wasn’t even a decade old.
The Library of Congress has footage of the historic flight below.
The New York Tribune wrote about the flight the next day:
The aeroplane sped quickly around the field at a height of less than one hundred feet. It made the first lap of a mile and a half before news percolated through the crowd that Mr. Roosevelt was Hoxsey’s passenger. When he swept past the grandstand he leaned forward a bit and waved his hands. The spectators seemed frightened and remained silent, watching the aeroplane intently.
The flying machine sped by and made the turn for the second lap. Hoxsey could be seen to bend over and shout something into Mr. Roosevelt’s ear. The engine cracked regularly, hurling the aeroplane forward at a speed of nearly a mile a minute, but from the ground it looked as though it were travelling much slower because it sailed so evenly and smoothly. There was not a breath of wind, and the engine did not miss fire once.
Roosevelt certainly had his faults as a president. But when it came to fearlessness, no one could deny him that. In fact, it’s incidents like these that make it amazing no major movie studio has released a huge biopic of Teddy in this century. I think we’ve already got the movie poster: