We all know about the Wright brothers. Oroville and Wilbur were either two insane individuals or visionaries. Probably a combination.
They were not the first to consider the effects of flight or the last. There was the myth of Daedalus and Icarus. The story of a man and his son who made wings from feathers and wax. Icarus flew to close to the sun and his wings melted. Icarus’ beautiful flight tragically ended as he plummeted to the sea.
Recently, I attended the memorial of a dear cousin. My cousin from a young age had a fixation on mechanical things and aviation. One day he experimented with the laws of aerodynamics and the laws of gravity. He equipped his five-year old sister with a very large umbrella and instructed her to hold on tight as she jumped from the roof of the house. His sister jumped and saw that gravity is a stronger law than aerodynamics as she became one with the ground.
My cousin continued experimenting with small machines that were intended to fly out of mower engines and the like. Finally he gave up on creating his own flying machine and took to the air in machines constructed by Cessna and Lear. I used to fly with him when I was a kid and even though he would pull some stunt flying he always did it safely. Over the years – He had some near misses with weather and guerillas.
I was impressed by the number of lives saved because of this one man who would fly donor organs all over the nation – no matter the weather.
Of all his passengers, his sister (at five ) was the only one who ever sustained injuries. She never flew with an umbrella again but she had plenty of delightful memories with her brother the pilot who saved lives.