Welcome back to my blog about balloons, rocket ships, airplanes, space travel, Star Wars, sci-fi, and everything about flying! This time we will look at some of my favorite space pilots. After you read the list, won’t you add some of your favorites!
OK, let’s go through the history of all the people nuttier than me who flew in less conventional ways…
- 1st century AD, Wang Mang tried to recruit a specialist scout, a man binding himself with bird feathers is claimed to have glided about 100 meters.
- Seventh century AD, It is said that at one time there was a Japanese law against man-carrying kites.
- 852 AD, when Armen Firman made a jump in Cordoba, Spain, reportedly covering his body with vulture feathers and attaching two wings to his arms.His lack of tail feathers got him a bad back upon landing though.
- 1010 AD Eilmer of Malmesbury, an English monk, flew from the tower of Malmesbury Abbey in a primitive glider. Eilmer was said to have flown over 200 yards before landing, breaking both his legs. He forgot a tail feather too…
- 1783, Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier were the first men to attempt to fly a hot air balloon. It took off from the center of Paris and flew for 20 minutes. King Louis XVI suggested using condemned prisoners as pilots but the brothers persuaded him otherwise. The Chinese would punish you by sticking you to a man carrying kite too… I did not think it was that bad?
- 1884, the first fully controllable free flight of a blimp was made by Charles Renard and Arthur
Constantin Krebs in a French Army electric-powered airship, La France.
- 1848, Sir George Cayley had progressed far enough to construct a glider in the form of a triplane large and safe enough to carry a child. A local boy was chosen but his name is not known. I guess I was not the youngest to fly without a plane…
- 1856, Frenchman Jean-Marie Le Bris made the first flight higher than his point of departure, by having his glider “L’Albatros artificiel” pulled by a horse on a beach. He reportedly achieved a height of 100 meters, over a distance of 200 meters.
- 1871, Alphonse Pénaud flew the first aerodynamically stable fixed-wing aeroplane, a model monoplane he called the “Planophore”, a distance of 131 ft.
- 1884, Alexander Mozhaiski constructed a steam-powered monoplane driven by one large tractor and two smaller pusher propellers. It was launched from a ramp and remained airborne for 98 ft.
- 1896, Langley’s Aerodrome No. 5 made the first successful sustained flight of an unpiloted, engine-driven heavier-than-air craft of substantial size.
- 1901, Whitehead claimed to have carried out a controlled, powered flight in his Number 21 monoplane at Fairfield, Connecticut.
- 1905, Wilbur Wright flew 24 miles (39 km) in 39 minutes 23 seconds.
So I was not that crazy! The truth be told, my flying was accidental.
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