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Cavalcade Of Flight: Perth, 13Dec03

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Cavalcade Of Flight: Perth, 13Dec03

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Old 16th Dec 2003, 13:00
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: Queensland
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Capn Bloggs. You are correct, Richard the First did end up in the odd gorse hedge - after his aircraft got airborne of it's own accord and he navigated a specific route of approximately 350 meters.

As poison_dwarf correctly stated, it is debatable whether the Wrights achieved "controlled, powered, free flight" in December 1903. They certainly did not have the hedges Richard had to contend with!
Torres is offline  
Old 16th Dec 2003, 23:28
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Townsville,Nth Queensland
Posts: 2,717
Wed "The Australian"

Our early Bird airs doubt over Wrights' stuff
By Steve Creedy, Aviation writer
December 17, 2003

As the world prepares to celebrate today the first centenary of powered flight by the Wright brothers, Australian aviation pioneer Nancy Bird Walton has raised a startling question: what if all of this is wrong?

Mrs Walton, a student of Charles Kingsford-Smith who went on to found the Australian Women's Pilots Association, is among a number of aviators uneasy that Orville and Wilbur Wright may have been pipped at the post more than two years earlier by little-known inventor Gustave Whitehead.

Supporters of Whitehead, who changed his name from Weisskopf when he emigrated from Germany to the US, claim he flew 800m in a plane powered by an acetylene engine on August 14, 1901, in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Whitehead's flight puts him ahead of the man many New Zealanders believe beat the Wrights to the punch by a month, Richard Pearse.

Mrs Walton believes the claim could well be valid.

"Gustave Whitehead worked with Otto Lilienthal and Lilienthal certainly flew gliders very successfully," she said. "And (Whitehead's flight) was written up in the local paper in 1901."

A woodblock print from an original sketch by eyewitness and Bridgeport Sunday Herald sports editor Dick Howell shows a bat-winged plane with two propellers flying above a field.

A report in the Scientific American two months earlier said the machine had two engines - one to run it along the ground until it reached take-off speed, and a second "that actuates the propellers so as to cause the machine to progress through the air to make it rise on its aeroplanes".

A detailed investigation by Connecticut aviation historians in 1964 uncovered enough evidence to get Whitehead recognised as the "Father of Connecticut Aviation".

Whitehead supporters in Bavaria have established a museum in his honour, and a replica of the plane flew successfully in 1998.

His supporters point to an agreement between the Wright Brothers and the Smithsonian as a possible reason their hero has been ignored.

So are we celebrating the wrong anniversary today?

"Well I don't know," Mrs Walton said.

"Do we upset America and the Smithsonian or do we just go on and toe the line?"

Wirraway is offline  
Old 17th Dec 2003, 00:42
  #23 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Seat 0A
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Geez Wiira, you reading the paper at 0130 in the morning??!!

From the Richard Pearse website: "Wild and inaccurate statements have been publicised from time to time concerning Richard Pearse's achievements in the field of aviation. However. no responsible researcher has ever claimed that he achieved fully controlled flight before the Wright brothers, or indeed at any time. To attain fully controlled flight a pilot would have to be able to get his plane into the air, fly it on a chosen course and land it at a predetermined destination.

Obviously Pearse's short "hops" or "flights", whilst they established the fact that he could readily become airborne, did not come within this category, but neither, for that matter, did the first powered flights of the Wright brothers in December 1903. The Wright brothers, however, had the resources necessary to continue their experimentation until they achieved fully controlled flight."

On a related yankism, I note with interest that the Scientific American called the wings "aeroplanes". Maybe it was the Wrights that came to an "agreement" about changing them to "airfoils" too! Those pesky Wrights!
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