E. Charles Vivian

Paris, October 21, 1897.

Report on the trials of M. Clement Ader's aviation apparatus.

M. Ader having notified the Minister of War by letter, July 21, 1897, that the Apparatus of Aviation which he had agreed to build under the conditions set forth in the convention of July 24th, 1894, was ready, and therefore requesting that trials be undertaken before a Committee appointed for this purpose as per the decision of August 4th, the Committee was appointed as follows: -

It is no derogation of the work accomplished by the Wright Brothers to say that they won the honour of the first power-propelled flights in a heavier-than-air machine only by a short period. In Europe, and especially in France, independent experiment was being conducted by Ferber, by Santos-Dumont, and others, while in England Cody was not far behind the other giants of those days.

Specification and Claims of Wright Patent, No. 821393. Filed March 23rd, 1903. Issued May 22nd, 1906. Expires May 22nd, 1923.

To all whom it may concern.

Be it known that we, Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright, citizens of the United States, residing in the city of Dayton, county of Montgomery, and State of Ohio, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Flying Machines, of which the following is a specification.

Certain experiments made in England by Mr Phillips seem to have come near robbing the Wright Brothers of the honour of the first flight; notes made by Colonel J. D. Fullerton on the Phillips flying machine show that in 1893 the first machine was built with a length of 25 feet, breadth of 22 feet, and height of 11 feet, the total weight, including a 72 lb. load, being 420 lbs.

Francesco Lana, with his 'aerial ship,' stands as one of the first great exponents of aerostatics; up to the time of the Montgolfier and Charles balloon experiments, aerostatic and aerodynamic research are so inextricably intermingled that it has been thought well to treat of them as one, and thus the work of Lana, Veranzio and his parachute, Guzman's frauds, and the like, have already been sketched.

Proclamation published by the French Government on balloon ascents, 1783.

NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC! PARIS, 27TH AUGUST, 1783.

On the Ascent of balloons or globes in the air. The one in question has been raised in Paris this day, 27th August, 1783, at 5 p.m., in the Champ de Mars.

A Discovery has been made, which the Government deems it right to make known, so that alarm be not occasioned to the people.

by E. Charles Vivian

The foregoing brief - and necessarily incomplete - survey of the early British group of fliers has taken us far beyond some of the great events of the early days of successful flight, and it is necessary to go back to certain landmarks in the history of aviation, first of which is the great meeting at Rheims in 1909. Wilbur Wright had come to Europe, and, flying at Le Mans and Pau - it was on August 8th, 1908, that Wilbur Wright made the first of his ascents in Europe - had stimulated public interest in flying in France to a very great degree.

Having got off the earth, the very early balloonists set about the task of finding a means of navigating the air but, lacking steam or other accessory power to human muscle, they failed to solve the problem. Joseph Montgolfier speedily exploded the idea of propelling a balloon either by means of oars or sails, pointing out that even in a dead calm a speed of five miles an hour would be the limit achieved.

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