Who made the first controlled flight

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by watchkeeper, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. watchkeeper

    watchkeeper New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I was wondering if many of the forum members had heard of New Zealander Richard Pearse a young farmer from South Otago, New Zealand.
    Pearse was a guenius engineer inventer with no formal education. In 1902 he built a mono plane with bamboo and linen, designed and built a 2 cylinder horizontal opposed engine and metal 2 blade prop.
    His plane had fixed wheels carriage, airilons and a cockpit.
    In March 1903 he made the first of several powered take offs, flew an eractic course over several hundred yards before crash landing in a gorse hedge.

    He never claimed first flight, instead said the Wright brothers flew first even though their first powered flight was 8 months later.

    Amongst the many Pearse inventions he built pre WWI was a single engine mono plane that allowed the engine to tilt horizontal for verticle lift. This aircraft was recovered from a rubbish dump and is displayed today in the Auckland MOTAT collection.

    I think history simply overlooked Richard Pearse and his acheivements because of his isolated location in New Zealands South Island itself an isolated spot in the Southern Pacific.
    Richard himself was reclusive interested in inventing rather than commercial success plus the country at that time had been settled only 60years by farmers, miners and timber men not industrialists.
     
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,631
    Likes Received:
    309
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Did it have enough power to maintain flight? Was it controllable in all three axis's?
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,767
    Likes Received:
    684
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    There are actually several people that achieved powered flight before the Wright Brothers, but the Wright's were the first to obtain both powered and controllable flight.
     
  4. watchkeeper

    watchkeeper New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I don't know the anything about flying, my interest is sailing and I build and sail superyachts. The story of Richard Pearse and what he acheived is typical of many Kiwi firsts.

    I pasted below one of several accounts of RP history.

    Source: R Pearse\Richard Pearse - inventor and aviator NZHistory_net_nz, New Zealand history online.mht

    Richard Pearse - inventor and aviatorPage 1 of 1Richard Pearse
    Map LocationsThe Town of Waitohi
    Richard Pearse (1877-1953)
    Richard Pearse's first patented invention, dating from 1902, was an ingenious new style of bicycle, bamboo-framed with a vertical-drive pedal action, rod-and-rack gearing system, back-pedal rim-brakes and integral tyre pumps.

    But flying, not cycling, was his dream. Through Scientific American Pearse kept in touch with experimentation overseas. There is evidence he was working on ideas for powered flight from 1899 and had built his first two-cylinder petrol engine by 1902. He then constructed, using bamboo, tubular steel, wire and canvas, a low aspect ratio monoplane.

    Of prophetic design,it closely resembled a modern microlight aircraft in appearance. After considerable taxiing on his farm paddocks Pearse made his first public flight attempt down Main Waitohi Road adjacent to his farm. After a short distance aloft, perhaps 50 yards, he crashed on top of his own gorse fence. No details were recorded, by Pearse or onlookers, of this tentative flight. In two letters, published in 1915 and 1928, the inventor writes of February or March 1904 as the time when he set out to solve the problem of aerial navigation. He also states that he did not achieve proper flight and did not beat the American brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright who flew on 17 December 1903. However, a great deal of eyewitness testimony, able to be dated circumstantially, suggests that 31 March 1903 was the likely date of this first flight attempt. (The year 1902 also has its advocates.) Pearse continued his flying experiments, achieving several further powered take-offs or long hops, most of them witnessed. None of them, in terms of length or control, was a true flight by any strict definition. In July 1906 he patented his aircraft.

    Whether or not Pearse flew in any acceptable sense, and regardless of the exact date, his first aircraft was a remarkable invention embodying several far-sighted concepts: a monoplane configuration, wing flaps and rear elevator, tricycle undercarriage with steerable nosewheel, and a propeller with variable-pitch blades driven by a unique double-acting horizontally opposed petrol engine.

    Adapted from a biography by Gordon Ogilvie published in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Vol 3, (1996). For the full biography see the online DNZB website: DICTIONARY OF NEW ZEALAND BIOGRAPHY

    Further information:
    links:
    Richard Pearse - who flew first?
     
Loading...

Share This Page