On 12 March 1908 Frederick W. Baldwin piloted the aircraft off the frozen Keuka Lake near Hammondsport, New York in what would be the first public demonstration of a powered aircraft flight in the United States as well as the first flight by a Canadian pilot.
Contemporary accounts described the flight as the "First Public Trip of Heavier-than-air Car in America." Reports entitled "Views of an Expert" stated that Professor Alexander Graham Bell's new machine, the Red Wing, built from plans by Lieutenant Selfridge, was "shown to be practicable by flight over Keuka Lake, Hammondsport, New York, 12 March 1908 by F. W. Baldwin, the engineer in charge of its construction."
The aircraft covered 319 ft (97 m) at a height of around 20 ft (6 m) before crashing 20 seconds after takeoff. A portion of the tail gave way, bringing the test to an end. The Red Wing was damaged beyond repair.