AEA member John Alexander Douglas McCurdy at the controls of an airplane during an aviation 'meet' near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, c. August 1911. The starboard-side of the transverse "shoulder-yoke" hinged structure for aileron control, in the general form of an upper seat support frame, is visible beside the seated pilot.
The AEA Silver Dart in flight.
The AEA Silver Dart in flight, J.A.D. McCurdy at the controls, c. 1910
Aerial Experiment Association members Casey Baldwin, Tom Selfridge, Glenn Curtiss, Alexander Graham Bell, John McCurdy and Augustus Post serving as observer from Aero Club of America.
The Silver Dart replica taxies to the starting point for its commemorative flight on 22 February 2009. It was celebrating Canada's Centennial of Flight a day early, due to predicted unfavourable weather.
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Silver Dart replica

The aircraft was piloted by one of its designers, Douglas McCurdy.

- AEA Silver Dart

The original Silver Dart was designed and built by the Aerial Experiment Association (AEA), formed under the guidance of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell.

- AEA Silver Dart

In 1907, he joined Alexander Graham Bell's Aerial Experiment Association.

- John Alexander Douglas McCurdy

McCurdy became the first British subject to fly an aircraft in the British Empire when he piloted the Aerial Experiment Association's Silver Dart off the ice of Bras d'Or Lake in Nova Scotia.

- John Alexander Douglas McCurdy

The AEA came into being when John Alexander Douglas McCurdy and his friend Frederick W. "Casey" Baldwin, two recent engineering graduates of the University of Toronto, decided to spend the summer in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

- Aerial Experiment Association

Their fourth flying machine, the Silver Dart, also constructed in 1908, made the first controlled powered flight in Canada on 23 February 1909 when it was flown off the ice of Bras d'Or Lake near Baddeck by McCurdy, who had been one of its designers.

- Aerial Experiment Association

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"Casey" Baldwin at Ridley College, circa 1900

Frederick Walker Baldwin

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Hydrofoil and aviation pioneer and partner of the famous inventor Alexander Graham Bell.

Hydrofoil and aviation pioneer and partner of the famous inventor Alexander Graham Bell.

"Casey" Baldwin at Ridley College, circa 1900
Aerial Experiment Association. Casey (second from right), Bell (centre), McCurdy, Curtis, and Selfridge

In 1906, he graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in electrical and mechanical engineering, and left for Baddeck, Nova Scotia, that summer to visit the home of his college friend Douglas McCurdy and the famous inventor Alexander Graham Bell.

On October 1, 1907, with the encouragement and generous financial support of Bell's wife Mabel Hubbard Bell, Bell, Baldwin, McCurdy, and two Americans, Glenn Curtiss and Thomas Selfridge, formed the Aerial Experiment Association (AEA) with the expressed purpose to "get in the air".

Baldwin used his engineering skills to help build the Silver Dart plus several other experimental aircraft.

Bell c. undefined 1917

Alexander Graham Bell

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Scottish-born inventor, scientist and engineer who is credited with patenting the first practical telephone.

Scottish-born inventor, scientist and engineer who is credited with patenting the first practical telephone.

Bell c. undefined 1917
Melville House, the Bells' first home in North America, now a National Historic Site of Canada
Bell, top right, providing pedagogical instruction to teachers at the Boston School for Deaf Mutes, 1871. Throughout his life, he referred to himself as "a teacher of the deaf".
Alexander Graham Bell's telephone patent drawing, March 7, 1876
The master telephone patent, 174465, March 7, 1876
An actor playing Bell in a 1926 film holds Bell's first telephone transmitter
Bell at the opening of the long-distance line from New York to Chicago in 1892
Alexander Graham Bell, his wife Mabel Gardiner Hubbard, and their daughters Elsie (left) and Marian ca. 1885
The Brodhead–Bell mansion, the Bell family residence in Washington, D.C., from 1882 to 1889
Alexander Graham Bell in his later years
Photophone receiver, one half of Bell's wireless optical communication system, ca. 1880
Bell's HD-4 on a test run ca. 1919
AEA Silver Dart ca. 1909
Bell statue by A. E. Cleeve Horne in front of the Bell Telephone Building of Brantford, Ontario, The Telephone City. (Brantford Heritage Inventory, City of Brantford)
A quote by Alexander Graham Bell engraved in the stone wall within the Peace Chapel of the International Peace Garden (in Manitoba Canada and North Dakota, USA).
The Bell Museum, Cape Breton, part of the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site
A.G. Bell issue of 1940
Bell, an alumnus of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree (LL.D.) at the university in 1906

Bell was a supporter of aerospace engineering research through the Aerial Experiment Association (AEA), officially formed at Baddeck, Nova Scotia, in October 1907 at the suggestion of his wife Mabel and with her financial support after the sale of some of her real estate.

The AEA was headed by Bell and the founding members were four young men: American Glenn H. Curtiss, a motorcycle manufacturer at the time and who held the title "world's fastest man", having ridden his self-constructed motor bicycle around in the shortest time, and who was later awarded the Scientific American Trophy for the first official one-kilometre flight in the Western hemisphere, and who later became a world-renowned airplane manufacturer; Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge, an official observer from the U.S. Federal government and one of the few people in the army who believed that aviation was the future; Frederick W. Baldwin, the first Canadian and first British subject to pilot a public flight in Hammondsport, New York; and J. A. D. McCurdy–Baldwin and McCurdy being new engineering graduates from the University of Toronto.

Their final aircraft design, the Silver Dart, embodied all of the advancements found in the earlier machines.