Stafford, VA is now home to a fascinating new attraction: The Langley Experience. Nestled inside the Stafford Regional Airport, this exhibit brings to life the often-overlooked achievements of Samuel P. Langley, a pioneering figure in aviation history. While the Wright brothers are celebrated for their manned flight, Langley’s significant contributions laid much of the groundwork for their success. His successful unmanned aerodrome flight in Stafford, VA, Aerodrome #5, was groundbreaking, and The Langley Experience aims to shine a light on this remarkable but overshadowed history.

 

A Mission of Rediscovery

The Langley Flight Foundation has undertaken a commendable initiative to tell Langley’s untold story. This project is spearheaded by Phil Hornung, a passionate advocate for Langley’s legacy, and his son, Chris Hornung, who brought the project into its full glory alongside his father. In an ironic twist of fate, Phil Hornung accomplished the creation of The Langley Experience in the same amount of time it took Langley to achieve his pioneering flight – just over eight years. This coincidence adds a layer of depth and connection to the interactive exhibit, reinforcing the historical narrative it seeks to preserve.

 

The foundation’s efforts culminated in a functional reproduction of Langley’s Aerodrome #5, complemented by three interactive kiosks. These kiosks provide visitors with an immersive dive into Langley’s trials, tribulations, and triumphs, effectively contextualizing his contributions within the broader tapestry of aviation history.

 

Honoring Stafford’s Success

The Langley Experience officially opened its doors to the public with a series of events that captured the community’s imagination and excitement. On May 11th, The Langley Flight Foundation hosted an open house that was a resounding success that created a lively atmosphere filled with curiosity and appreciation for Langley’s achievements. Prior to the public event, a VIP celebration was hosted to mark the official launch of The Langley Experience. This exclusive gathering was attended by many notable figures, including representatives from NASA’s Langley Research Center, the Smithsonian Institution, and members of Stafford’s Board of Supervisors. Their presence supported the significance of Langley’s contributions and the importance of preserving this piece of history.

 

Visit the Langley Experience

This site is a must-see for anyone interested in the rich history of aviation and America’s innovation. Located at the Stafford Regional Airport, the exhibit is free and open to the public during the airport’s operating hours. It offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and witness the ingenuity and perseverance that characterized early aviation efforts.

 

Come explore the story of Samuel P. Langley and discover the legacy of a true pioneer whose contributions continue to inspire innovation in the skies above. If your group is interested in a guided, up-close viewing of the Aerodrome, contact the Langley Flight Foundation at, contact@langfound.org

For more information about visiting The Langley Experience, check out their website. We look forward to welcoming you!