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.

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.

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.

Proclamation published by the French Government on balloon ascents, 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.

A Brazilian by birth, Santos-Dumont began in Paris in the year 1898 to make history, which he subsequently wrote.

Although successful heavier-than-air flight is less than two decades old, and successful dirigible propulsion antedates it by a very short period, the mass of experiment and accomplishment renders any one-volume history of the subject a matter of selection. In addition to the restrictions imposed by space limits, the material for compilation is fragmentary, and, in many cases, scattered through periodical and other publications.

It may be said that Louis Bleriot was responsible for the second great landmark in the history of successful flight. The day when the brothers Wright succeeded in accomplishing power-driven flight ranks as the first of these landmarks. Ader may or may not have left the ground, but the wreckage of his 'Avion' at the end of his experiment places his doubtful success in a different category from that of the brothers Wright and leaves them the first definite conquerors, just as Bleriot ranks as first definite conqueror of the English Channel by air.

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