Tuesday, May 05, 2009

DYK - The 3rd People to Fly a Plane!

You know Kitty Hawk? The place where Wilbur and Orville Wright became the “first” people to ever man a machine-powered aircraft? Yeah, well, turns out we shouldn’t have been making such a big deal about that whole deal.

We’ve all heard a thousand times that the Wright Brothers made their first flight in the latter portions of 1903, setting off a buzz for flight that graciously led to those wonderful Southwest Airlines television ads we’re treated to twice a commercial break. But those guys were beat to the skies not once, but twice.

It’s become generally accepted that a New Zealand farmer named Richard Pearse had been flying for a year-and-a-half when Willy or Orv did their thing. And this guy didn’t even need help; alone in his barn he put together a flying machine in 1902. But at least that puts the Wright Brothers as the first flyers in America, right?

Wrong-o. Over two years before the Kitty Hawk flight, a Connecticut man named Gustave Whitehead flew a half-mile. There are no blueprints for his machine, but as more and more evidence turns up to prove this guy did what his descendents say he did, it becomes harder and harder say it didn’t happen.

It did. And so did Pearse’s flight. Which means, as I’ve already stated, that the Wright Brothers flew third. They suck at life. Glory hogs.

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