Sunday, December 10, 2006
The First Flight Centennial
Claudio posted an interesting message on his personal blog on Windows Live Spaces. He writes about the 100 year anniversary of the first heavier than air flight. As we all know, that happened more than a hundred years ago at the Outer Banks in North Carolina, when the Wright Brothers flew a short distance in their "flyer". Or was it?
Claudio actually raises some interesting questions. Few people in the US seem to know that there is a controversy around this. Being from Austria, I have also been taught that the Wright Brothers flew first, but I was also taught that that is not undisputed. There is the brazilian first flight which is proven to have happened (apparently unlike the Wright Brother's flight). I have also heard about a russian first flight.
It is interesting. This sort of stuff gives you something to think about. I once spent some time with someone from Russia who claimed they were the first to fly. A while later, an american friend of mine said: "...can you believe it? They just told him they were first...". Well, yeah, but you know what: Why do we think the Wright Brothers were first? We were "just told" that that was the case. Our sources are really no more or less reliable than the Russian's or the Brazilian's. It really makes you think and wonder, doesn't it?
Also, as is often the case, inventions are made in different places at the same time. Heavier than air flight was going to happen. It might have been a few years earlier or later, but technological advancement lead towards it, no matter who got it right first. The same is true for many other inventions.
Talking about Brazil and flying: Looks like the american pilots that collided with that airliner (which lead to Brazil's worst ever air disaster) are back in the US. Claudio raises some good points about that too on his blog. I am surprised they let those pilots go already. Just imagine some Saudi Arabian (or substitute the country of your choice) private jet colliding with a large american airliner in US airspace, killing everyone on board and leading to the worst commercial air travel accident in US history. How long do you think it would take those guys to be released and allowed to leave the US? Personally, if I was the foreign pilot, I'd rather have this happen to me in Brazil...
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