John V. Pliska, born in Tyne, Austria, came to Texas with his parents in 1897 and settled in Flatonia. In 1903 he started on a trip to Mexico by train. When the train stopped in Midland, he got off to look over the local blacksmith shop. Pliska was hired as a blacksmith and became the first person in Midland County to become a U.S. naturalized citizen.
Fascinated by airplanes, Pliska planned to build one and by 1909 had started gathering materials. In 1911, a Wright Brothers Model B plane landed in Midland on a cross-country flight. Pliska viewed it and began to build his own plane along with Gary Coggin, a local auto mechanic. Pliska flew his plane in 1912. Pliska's flying machine can be viewed daily in the Midland International Airport lobby.
Hours: Daily Viewing
Address: 600 Air Park Road
Come visit us in Midland, Texas