The American brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved the first powered, sustained and controlled aeroplane flight in 1903 and built and flew the first fully practical aeroplane in 1905. After an initial period of frustrating dealings with the United States Army they finally won the U.S. Army contract in 1909, and made many exhibition flights in France, Italy and Germany that year. They continued to dominate world aviation until the end of 1909 when European competition finally surpassed them.
This photograph was taken at Pont-Long in Pau, a winter resort at the foot of the Pyrenees in South Western France. Pont-Long was an ideal flying field partly due to the virtual absence of trees, and Wilbur Wright made sixty flights there in February and March 1909. A steady stream of notables flocked to Pau from all over Europe to see Wilbur and his Flyer.