Huntley Meadows Park near Alexandria treats visitors to over 1,500 acres of restored wetlands, forests, and meadows. It is home to a stunning diversity of wildlife, all visible from a boardwalk, observation tower and trails. But if Henry Woodhouse, an aviation enthusiast with a shady past, had gotten his way, this gorgeous slice of Northern Virginia might have become the biggest airport in the world.
In 1949, a shocking mid-air crash near National Airport killed more people than any previous air disaster in U.S. history. It did not take long for investigators to place the blame on one unlucky pilot. But was Capt. Erick Rios Bridoux really at fault?
Ohio and North Carolina often get into a dispute about who can “claim” the Wright Brothers. The former was where the two lived and conducted most of their research, but the latter was where they actually took to the air for the first time. The debate rages on, with shots fired in forms from commemorative coins to license plates. But the place where the Wright Brothers really fathered the American aviation age was right here in the DC area, where they taught the first military pilots to fly, proved to the American public that their machine was real, and took to the air at what is now the oldest airport in the world.