The first airplane flights in Colorado were by French aviator Louis Paulhan. They happened February 1-3, 1910, at Overland Park, which is five miles north of Littleton. Paulhan traveled to Denver after winning prizes for altitude and flight duration in California. His three-day exhibition consisted of seven to 15 minute flights, with huge crowds gathering to watch. The first day was a bust, as the crowd broke through the fences, preventing him from landing. On the third day, Paulhan crashed his yellow Farman biplane. After landing on a too-short runway, he hit a fence then an irrigation ditch, rebounding into the air before crash-landing. He was ejected from the “heavier-than-air machine,” and along with some spectators hit by flying fence debris, escaped serious injury. This image was taken during one of the days he was in Denver.
Paulhan went on to Texas, New Orleans, and New York before leaving the U.S. after a lawsuit brought by the Wright Brothers resulted in huge fines.
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(From the collection of the Littleton Museum. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the Littleton Museum.)