1903 TO 1916



Chance M. Vought, Aviation Pioneer



       Romme Umbrella

       Lillie - Vought

       P - L - V


       Wright Martin V


       Chance M. Vought





The history of aviation is the story of man’s continual struggle to fly faster, higher, farther and safer. Human flight, which began with the Wright brothers in 1903, followed by the Apollo manned flight to the moon in 1969 and the space shuttle’s first flight in 1981, are the paramount achievements of the twentieth century. The Wright Brother’s first successful heavier-than-air powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903 went mainly unnoticed by the world. Newspapers would not publish the story until A.I. Root, a close friend of the Wright brothers’ and owner of the A.I. Root Company, maker of candles, published the first account of the historic flight in the monthly farm magazine, “Gleanings in Bee Culture.” Even though Chance Vought was only 13 years old in 1903, we chose to begin the story of this aviation pioneer with the Wright Brothers’ first flight. Chance Vought worked for Harold McCormick as an engineer from 1909 to 1912. He was associated with William S. Romme in the design of the McCormick-Romme Umbrella airplane which first flew on March 11, 1910.  By 1912, Vought had learned to fly, and in 1913 he played a major role in the design of the Lillie biplane.  The first complete Vought airplane design was the PLV, which first flew in August 1914, followed by the Mayo-Vought Simplex in May 1915.  In 1916, Chance Vought became chief engineer of the Wright Company of Dayton, Ohio and designed the Wright-Martin V which first flew in September 1916.  When the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, Chance Vought decided to form his own company to take advantage of the aviation opportunities presented.