Wright Brothers

Octave Chanute – One of the Fathers of Aviation

Octave Chanute – One of the Fathers of Aviation

On February 18, 1832, French-born American railway engineer and aviation pioneer Octave A. Chanute was born. He provided many budding enthusiasts, including the Wright brothers [6] with help and advice, and helped to publicize their flying experiments. At his death he was hailed as the father of aviation and the heavier-than-air flying machine. “Let us hope that the advent of a successful flying machine, now only dimly foreseen and nevertheless thought to be…
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Gabriel Voisin – From Aviation to Luxury Cars

Gabriel Voisin – From Aviation to Luxury Cars

On February 5, 1880. French aircraft and automobile designer Gabriel Voisin was born. Voisin was the creator of Europe’s first manned, engine-powered, heavier-than-air aircraft capable of a sustained (1 km), circular, controlled flight. During World War I the company founded by Voisin became a major producer of military aircraft. Subsequently, he switched to the design and production of luxury automobiles under the name Avions Voisin. Gabriel Voisin Gabriel Voisin was born at Belleville-sur-Saône, France. The…
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The Controversial Flights of Gustave Whitehead

The Controversial Flights of Gustave Whitehead

On January 1, 1874, German-born aviation pioneer Gustav Albin Weißkopf was born. He emigrated from Germany to the United States and called himself Gustave Whitehead. He designed and built gliders, flying machines, and engines between 1897 and 1915. Controversy surrounds published accounts and Whitehead’s own claims that he flew a powered machine successfully several times in 1901 and 1902, predating the first flights by the Wright Brothers in 1903.[1] Gustav Weißkopf –…
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Otto Lilienthal, the Glider King

Otto Lilienthal, the Glider King

On May 23, 1848, German aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal was born, who was the first person to make well-documented, repeated, successful gliding flights. For his contributions to aviation he is often referred to as “The Father of Flight.” Otto Lilienthal – Early Years Otto Lilienthal received a good education at a grammar school in Anklam despite the sudden death of his father and the financial struggles of his family. Flight tests and experiments…
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Samuel Pierpont Langley and his Aviation Work

Samuel Pierpont Langley and his Aviation Work

On February 27, 1906, American astronomer, physicist, inventor of the bolometer and pioneer of aviation Samuel Pierpont Langley passed away. Langley attempted to make a working piloted heavier-than-air aircraft. His models flew, but his two attempts at piloted flight were not successful. Background Samuel Pierpont Langley Samuel Pierpont Langley was born in 1834 in Roxbury. He started his education at the Boston Latin School and was interested in astronomy immediately. His brother helped him…
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New Zealand’s Aviation Pioneer Richard Pearse

New Zealand’s Aviation Pioneer Richard Pearse

On July 29, 1953, New Zealand farmer, inventor and aviation pioneer Richard William Pearse passed away. It is claimed Pearse flew and landed a powered heavier-than-air machine on 31 March 1903, some nine months before the Wright brothers flew their aircraft.[2] The documentary evidence to support such a claim remains open to interpretation, and Pearse did not develop his aircraft to the same degree as the Wright brothers, who achieved sustained controlled…
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Romanian Flight Pioneer Trajan Vuia and his Flying Machines

Romanian Flight Pioneer Trajan Vuia and his Flying Machines

On March 18, 1906, the flying machine of Romanian inventor Traian Vuia lifted briefly to a powered hop of 11 metres. Though unsuccessful in sustained flight, Vuia‘s invention influenced Louis Blériot in designing monoplanes. In difference to the flying machine of the Wright brothers that made first motor powered flight in December 1903 [2], Vuia‘s machine had the capability to take off from a flat surface, without assistance such as an incline,…
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