9 thoughts on “Mysteries Of Flight: Who Was Really First To Fly?

  1. Your article is soft-soaping history. The Wrights, beyond pursuing competitors via patent infringement suits, forced the Smithsonian to support their claim to first flight via contractual agreement. History has been warped ever since by their selfish pursuits. Gustave Whitehead, from available evidence, is the true first flyer.

  2. I believe it was Orville and Wilbur Wright who established beyond doubt, between December 17 1903 and early 1905, that it was possible for a mechine designed and built by man, rather than The Almighty, to:

    1. Sustain level (not just gliding) flight; supported in the air through no other agency than the dynamic reaction of the onrushing atmosphere upon the wings of said machine, while

    2. Propelled in level flight through the atmosphere by no agency other than a self-contained on-board power source (I.e engine), and that furthermore it was possible for

    3. The operator (I.e pilot) to maintain full control of, and maneuver said machine at will.

    While others may have been experimenting with flying machines before the pioneering flights of the Wright Brothers, there is no evidence that anybody fully demonstrated that manned, powered, level sustained flight was possible as had Orville and Wilbur Wright by early 1905.

  3. Clearly, whatever one wants to believe, anyone who believes someone besides the Wrights achieved flight has to believe they did so, left behind no creditable evidence or witnesses, and most importantly, after achieving their miracle they never tried again, were never again successful and went on to lives of obscurity without aerodynamic note until it became profitable to publish in the tabloids. Icarus had as valid a claim as *ALL* the rest of them.

  4. Besides, one has to consider the facts that the Wrights built their own ‘Wind Tunnel’ and carried out many hundreds of experiments to establish Lift and Drag requirements and tested many (glider) type flying models to support their findings, like any well established airplane manufacturer will do today. It was not an accidental or one off flight on 17 Dec 1903, but was a convincing demonstration of ‘proof of well tested concept’ in a ‘controlled, at pilot’s will, engine-powered and sustained’ flight of real aeroplane, and further, it could be replicated on demand. Also the basic ‘model’ could improved upon!…right uptil today’s Jet-age and beyond. The Wrights were the first to get it Right! I rest my case!!

  5. Ironically enough, if we, ourselves, weren’t so keen to attribute fame, to put names on buildings and faces on stamps (and licenses), then it really wouldn’t matter who was first. All that would matter would be the fact that mankind achieved powered and controlled flight. We’re feeding our own controversy. Maybe if we focused less on individuals and on singling people out, and more on what we can do together, we could actually achieve a lot more. But that doesn’t seem to be fashionable today.

  6. My father, born in Moscow Russia in 1890, claims he learned to fly in 1909 and attended a “school of aviation” in Paris France where they built their own air machines and that he went on to give “exhibitions of flying” in Russia. He often expressed respect for what the Wright’s did and how they worked at it, while acknowledging the feats of many many others not well recorded in history. And, on that note we rarely accord the respect and admiration due the “mechanics” the wrench benders, the applicators of dope and fabric: Charles E. Taylor comes to mind. Anyone ever heard of him? Not many of you I suspect. He was a ‘wrench” for the Wright’s.

  7. New research in France supports Adler’s claims. He was convinced his flying machine would prove decisive in any war and so turned to the army for the funding of his three machines.
    On the day of the big test all the top brass turned out, even though the weather was atrocious. The plane was due to fly a circuit around a race track but crashed in a gust of wind at the second corner. The generals upped and left and pulled the funding plug, while classifying it all top-secret (this was after the 1870 war and France was determined to rebuild a strong army, while Germany sent over hundreds of spies.
    Adler refused non-military funding for further development and that was that, until 100 year old documents were declassified.

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