The association was strengthened by the inclusion of engine designer and aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss and an official observer of the American government, U.S. Army Lt. Thomas Selfridge.
The Association built a man-carrying kite and four powered aircraft, the Red Wing, the White Wing, the June Bug and the last, the Silver Dart, designed by McCurdy. Built and first flown by McCurdy on December 6, 1908 at Hammondsport, New York, the Silver Dart had been dismantled and was brought to Baddeck in January 1909 for further flying experiments as Dr. Bell was desirous of having one of the A.E.A. machines flown in Canada.
On February 23, 1909 in Baddeck, Bell’s wish came true as the members of the Aerial Experiment Association prepared to make another flight of the Silver Dart. This flight would be different because up to this point there had never been a recorded example of controlled powered flight in the young Dominion of Canada.
On February 23, 1909, a bitterly cold day, with all of Baddeck huddled together on the side of the long, narrow Bras d’Or Lakes, the Silver Dart was dragged along the ice behind a horse drawn sleigh. Men on skates at the wing tips kept the aircraft properly lined up as it made its initial run on the frozen lake.