Most Wichitans were probably unaware that major Wichita history was taking place on Sept. 1, 1916.
On that day, the Air Capital of the World was born: Clyde Cessna signed a contract at the J.J. Jones Car Co. building to start manufacturing planes.
Cessna, a Kingman County farmer, flew his first plane in May 1911. But by 1916, he was ready to build them.
During the winter of 1916-17, he began building the first planes constructed in Wichita in a corner of the Jones Car building at 801 E. 37th St. North.
More than one-fifth of America’s civilian aircraft are built in Wichita or by Wichita companies.
“As one airline pilot once said, ‘You can’t land at any airport in the world without seeing a Wichita airplane,’ ” said Richard Harris, former chairman of the Kansas aviation centennial.