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Were The Wright Brothers Really The First?

Thu Apr 11, 2002 10:09 am


Richard Pearse: "Mad Pearse", "Bamboo Dick", self-taught inventor, prophetic designer, trail blazing aviator and eccentric visionary. On or about 31st March 1903 a reclusive New Zealand farmer Richard Pearse climbed into a self-built monoplane and flew for about 140 metres before crashing into a gorse hedge on his Waitohi property . Even at half the distance Pearse must have felt the liberating but anxious exhilaration of flying. There is uncertainty about whether it met the definitions of sustained flight, but it came eight months before the Wright Brothers entered the record books at Kitty Hawk North Carolina on 17th December 1903. More, if you follow the link.

This makes you wonder, really! While the Wright Brothers had all the media coverage, this guy, flew his plane 8 months before without any journalist around.

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RE: Were The Wright Brothers Really The First?

Thu Apr 11, 2002 10:20 am

I think the fact that there were no media around led to the fact that he was not the first. In order to establish a new record, or break an existing one, the evnt must be witnessed by an official from Guinness (not the beer company..)

He may well have been the first, but he has no evidence to prove that he actually did it, therefore he cannot be credited with the achievement.

I believe that alexander graham bell was not the first person to invent the telephone. A guy (whos name i cannot remember) invented it first, but he never registered his design. because Bell registered it and obtained a patent, he was credited as the inventor. That info was from an advert on discovery which i think is still running...

Just makes you wonder about many marvelous achievements. Was the person credited as being the first to do it really the first, or wa she just the first to register his achievements??
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RE: Were The Wright Brothers Really The First?

Thu Apr 11, 2002 10:29 am

You have a point Nighthawk. But we have to keep in mind that this is not just another record, but a historical event. I can't talk for others, but I'd personaly like to know who was the real firt person (or group of person) to have been able to maitain controlled flight, with the media around or not.

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RE: Were The Wright Brothers Really The First?

Thu Apr 11, 2002 11:05 am

Gosh, this must be the first time that our own pioneer aviator has been acknowledged in this forum.
True, there is even debate here as to whether or not he was the first.
Like another Kiwi, Lord Rutherford of Nelson (NZ); it's not often acknowledged that he was the first to split the atom.
Or yet another one, Dr William Pickering, a pioneering rocket scientist who led NASA through it's prime space exploration period of the 50s and 60s (and who incidentally is an ex-pupil of my local high school).
As for Pearce, I think he was regarded as a bit of an eccentric (like most pioneer inventors I think) so everybody kept away from him.
Hell, he could've built a rocket and gone to the moon and back; nobody would've known.

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RE: Were The Wright Brothers Really The First?

Thu Apr 11, 2002 11:08 am

This has been a long debated topic for many years.

Some are saying that the French flew first 10 years earlier, but it wasn't publically announced like the Wright Brothers, so the Wright Brothers got all the fame and attention.

No one really knows. The French were trying to achieve flight for quite some time before the Wrights and may very well have achieved it.

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