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Alumna Connie Tobias Flies Wright Flyer Replica

Connie Tobias flies Wright Flyer replicaFulfilling what would be a dream for most pilots, Russ College alumna Connie Tobias, AAS '77, BGS '78, became the first woman to fly a 1903 Wright Flyer. Having done so four times, she is one of only two people to have equaled the distance and time of some of Orville and Wilbur Wright's historic flights.

Currently a captain for U.S. Airways, Tobias has also flown a 1902 Wright Glider, a total of 24 times. In January 2004, Tobias flew the Wright Flyer "Friendship" for 11 seconds to a distance of 150 feet.

Fellow Bobcat Nick Engler, BFA '73, built the replicas. Engler is the founder and director of Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company, an educational, nonprofit organization of aviators, historians, educators, and others whose mission is to tell the story of the invention of the airplane to all young people in the hopes of inspiring them. Engler's company has recreated six of the brothers' 19 planes in an effort to inform others of the Wrights' accomplishments.


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