Powered aviation was introduced to North Texas in 1910 and the Fort Worth area in 1911. It began with flight demonstrations followed by transient military visits, followed by establishing three WWI training bases here, the only US city with multiple training bases.
WWI aviation had the support of local business and civic leaders like Ben E. Keith, Amon Carter, Sr., mayors, and many others. The Canadian Royal Flying Corps arrived to utilize the three training fields to train Canadian and US pilots and ground crews through these efforts and support. The skies were filled with JN-4 “Jenny” biplanes and ignited an interest in aviation and the magic of flight here.
In six years, North Texas went from having never seen flying machines to them being an everyday sight.
Shortly after the First World War, aviation transformed from mostly military operations to the early days of commercial aviation. Before passenger service, aviation was used to deliver mail and packages. Contract Air Mail routes (CAM) crisscrossed the state, including service to Mexico. As the interest in aviation grew, and aircraft became large enough, passenger services and airplanes were established.
Many of today’s major airlines had their roots in Texas for had major roles here, such as American, Delta, and United Airlines. In the late 1930;s, as the war began in Europe, military aviation began to expand and grow once again. In 1938 a conference of all commercial operations took place in Fort Worth. At the same time, President Roosevelt declared that if the US were drawn into the war, it would need at least 50,000 military aircraft. This conference and the directive by the President would change North Texas and aviation forever.