Oakwood man pays $125K in auction for historic Wright Flyer wing fabric

Joe Hix, with the section of the Wright Flyer's Wing Fabric he recently won in auction. Contributed
Caption
Joe Hix, with the section of the Wright Flyer's Wing Fabric he recently won in auction. Contributed

An Oakwood man won the recent auction of a section of Wright Flyer fabric that landed on the moon in July 1969 — and he wants Space X to take it to Mars when humans go to that planet for the first time.

Joe Hix won the auction from a collection of the family of famed Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first human to step on the lunar surface.

The piece is a 1.25″ x 1.25″ segment of muslin cloth from the left wing of the 1903 Wright Flyer, according to Heritage Auctions. The fabric joined Armstrong for the first moon landing in 1969.

According to Heritage Auctions, in a signed letter dated Jan. 26, 1970, Armstrong wrote: ”I certify that the wooden and fabric materials provided by the Air Force Museum were placed aboard Apollo XI and carried to the surface of the moon by the lunar module ‘Eagle’ on mankind’s first lunar landing, July 20, 1969.”

Of course, the fabric is historic for another reason. It was part of the craft that achieved the first successful piloted, powered controlled flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C. in 1903.

A Heritage Auctions spokesman confirmed that Hix won and paid $125,000 for the item.

“Dayton leads in aviation and space exploration,” Hix said in an email to the Dayton Daily News Wednesday. “I hope to inspire boys and girls of all ages in Dayton, and Ohio, and the world to start thinking about real, practical space travel; and figure out ways to do that.”

The 1979 Oakwood High School graduate said he has sought to contact space and automotive entrepreneur Elon Musk for more than 18 months.

“I’ve been working on getting in touch with Elon Musk and SpaceX to take a piece of the Wright Flyer (with) the first human boots on (the first manned) Mars landing,” Hix said.

Musk is CEO and founder of Hawthorne, Calif.-based Space X, a private company that has set a goal of facilitating the eventual human colonization of Mars, among other endeavors.

Hix said the auction price “took a significant chunk of my retirement, and I’m not rich.”

Armstrong died in August 2012, two weeks after heart surgery.

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