Snohomish County’s first flight was an adventure

Snohomish County’s first glimpse of an airplane was not so much a taste of the future as it was a circus act — complete with a death-defying ending.

A former racecar driver named Fred Wiseman took his traveling show to Snohomish in May 1911, charging a dollar a head to see his flying machine. This was only eight years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight, and airplane manufacturing was a do-it-yourself project. Wiseman’s airplane was held together by glue, fabric and a healthy dose of optimism.

At least it was held together, until it crash-landed.

Michelle Dunlop looked back at the flight for a 2011 story about its 100th anniversary:

After a couple attempts, Wiseman’s aircraft took off, rising roughly 60 feet in the air. Less than a minute later, the engine faltered and Wiseman made a rough landing in a field about half of a mile away where the aircraft came to a stop nose-down in the mud. Bruised and battered, Wiseman was able to walk away.

Several onlookers also walked away — with pieces of the plane, which suffered a broken propeller blade and snapped struts from the landing.

Wiseman wisely got out of the airplane stunt business by the end of 1911, taking a nice, safe desk job with Standard Oil. But Snohomish County was never the same. That flight indirectly helped inspire William Boeing, who got into the aircraft business just a few years after Wiseman got out.

Read the rest of the 2011 story.

More in Local News

State: Secret deal endangers Marysville Strawberry Festival

The “bizarre” agreement promises a former leader up to $175,000 if the group fails to meet his demands.

Former jail guards sentenced in dehydration death of inmate

During a mental health crisis in 2015, Keaton Farris, 25, wasted away in the Island County Jail.

County Council grills Sound Transit CEO about long timeline

West Seattle and Ballard light-rail extensions will be completed before the main spine to Everett.

‘We don’t know why he left’: Teen has been missing for 2 years

Interest in the case of Tyler Christensen, of the Edmonds area, has recently surged on the internet.

Talks to begin on emergency radio system contract

Motorola Solutions Inc. has been chosen to build a replacement for the current 911 radio system.

Mountlake Terrace woman in coma after random, vicious attack

The suspect allegedly confessed, saying he had no explanation for his actions.

Traffic circles going in on Second Street in Marysville

The work follows complaints from residents about people driving too fast down the street.

ECEAP expanding but not quick enough for program’s demand

The 1,000 spots opening for next school year are less than half of what was sought.

County planners seek denial of Woodway-area luxury condos

Concerns remained over the Point Wells development’s design and traffic plans.

Most Read