About 70 million years ago, during the Jurassic age, the largest
creature was the pterosaur, (Quetzalcoatlus northropi),
or “feathered serpent”. It lived in North America and Africa, and its
fossils indicate that it had a wing span of 36-39 feet.
The boomerang is most closely associated with Australia where it was used
for hunting and fishing and dates back 15,000 years.
It is believed that at some time hunters realized that a two- or three-foot stick
rotating through the air was more suited for the open range and have
advantages over a spear that needed a trajectory. A boomerang, or Kylie,
would travel up to 100 yards and "float" toward its target. Hunters also
noted that a curved stick, or club, would travel farther than a straight stick.
It is believed that the Aboriginal people of Australia created the returning
boomerang. By carving and shaping a stick, native Australians discovered
that instead of flying straight, the sticks would curve and return to the thrower.
They were also used for digging up roots, cooking and throwing.
In Greek mythology, Icarus was the sun of Daedalus. They were imprisoned
in a tower on Crete by the king, Minos. Daedalus fabricated wings, with
feathers fastened with string and wax for himself and his son Icarus to escape.
When all was prepared for flight, he said, “Icarus, my son, I charge you to
keep at a moderate height, for if you fly too low the damp will clog your
wings, and if too high the heat will melt them. Keep near me and you will
be safe.” Then rising on his wings he flew off, encouraging him to follow.
Icarus, exalted by flight, began to leave the guidance of his father and
soar upward as if to reach heaven. The nearness of the blazing sun softened
the wax which held the feathers together, and they came off. He fluttered
with his arms, but no feathers remained to hold the air. While his mouth
uttered cries to his father, it was submerged in the blue waters of the sea,
which thenceforth was called by his name.
In Greek mythology, Helios is the young Greek god of the sun. Each morning
at dawn he rises from the ocean in the east and rides in his chariot, pulled by four
horses - Pyrois, Eos, Aethon and Phlegon – through the sky, to descend at night in the west.
In Greek Mythology - Pegasus was a beautiful, winged horse. He sprung from Medusa's
body when her head was chopped off by the Greek hero, Perseus. Without a mother,
Pegasus roamed free and wild.
Taming the Beast - The Capture of Pegasus
While drinking from a well, Bellerophon managed to slip a golden bridle over Pegasus
and capture the horse. The golden bridle had been a gift from the goddess Athena.
Bellerophon tamed Pegasus and used the horse during his adventures. One of these
adventures was the slaying of Chimera. Chimera had the head of a lion, the body of a
goat, and the tail of a snake. It killed and ate humans. Many brave men had tried slaying
Chimera on foot but without any luck. Bellerophon used Pegasus to fly to the monster and kill it.
Bellerophon made the foolish decision to try and fly Pegasus to Mount Olympus
(heaven, according Greek mythology). Zeus quickly put a stop to Bellerophon by
throwing him from Pegasus. Bellerophon survived the fall, but he was crippled.
As for Pegasus, he made it into heaven where he spent his days carrying lightning
bolts for Zeus. When the stars are out, you might be able to see the Pegasus'
constellation, which was named after him.
In Greek Mythology, the griffin is a mythical creature that has the head and wings
of an eagle and the body of a lion. Sometimes it is depicted as having a long snake
for a tail. Most of the time, only the female has wings and males have spikes on
their backs instead of wings.
The griffin is said to be native to India, although nobody knows for sure where
it came from. These winged monsters would find gold in the mountains and built
nests from it. Of course, this lured hunters, so griffins kept a very hostile guard
over their nests. They would eat the men and devour their horses.
Griffins are usually heroic symbols. They are well known for their speed, ability
to fly and having eyes like an eagle, as well as the strength and courage of a lion.
In hieroglyphics, griffins represent heat and summer. In Assyria (an ancient empire
of western Asia,) both the griffin and the dragon were symbols of wisdom. In
Roman art, griffins are often pulling the chariot of Nemesis (goddess of justice and revenge).
According to Hindu mythology the first elephants in the world had wings and
consorted with the clouds. One day however a group of elephants alighted on
a branch under which an ascetic saint was teaching his pupils. Not surprisingly
the branch broke and fell on the pupils killing several of them and angering the saint,
who called on the gods to deprive the elephants of their wings.
But the elephants remained friendly with the clouds and it was still in their power
to call upon their former heavenly companions to bring rain. For this ability elephants
are still honoured in India and worshiping them is associated with rainfall and bountiful
crops. Even today the symbol of good luck is an elephant headed divinity called Ganesha,
to whom Hindus pray before every important undertaking.
Around 500 BC kites were invented in ancient China. The most likely
places are Yew Nan province and Shandong province.
In the 5th century BC the sculptor Myron produced a statue of a discus thrower
(Discobolus). Discus throwing is an ancient sport.
This object was created near 200 BCE and was found in a tomb at Saqquara, Egypt.
Somewhere between 200 BC and 600 AD, the Incan tribe of Peru, created
the Nazca lines. The images range from drawings of birds, spiders,
a monkey, even an astronaut, and numerous unidentifiable images to
rectangular shapes and straight lines. It is believed that they were created by
removing the dark surface stones and placing them in the desired
patterns. Another method used was removing the desert’s thin, brown
soil and exposing the pink soil underneath. Due to the area’s dry,
stable climate, these light-colored lines have managed to stay
intact. The lines are meaningless at ground level, but from the sky,
designs can be easily seen. Some believe the Nazcas built balloons
that would allow them to fly over the images and view them.
A remarkable gold trinket estimated to be at least 1,000 years old - dating
perhaps to between 500 and 800 AD - was found in Central America and
along coastal areas of South America. If you weren’t aware of its age, you
might guess that it was a child’s model of the Space Shuttle or a delta
wing fighter aircraft.
When the artifact was discovered, archaeologists called it a zoomorph,
or animal-shaped object. It resembles no known flying animal, however.
It looks distinctly mechanical with its delta-shaped wings, stabilizer fins
and rudder. It even has what looks like a pilot’s seat in the right place.
Experts in aerodynamics, however, contend that the wings are too far
back for the object’s center of gravity, and that the nose is not
aerodynamically sound. Whatever this object is supposed to be or
represent, its remarkable resemblance to a modern aircraft or
spacecraft is uncanny.
During Marco Polo's China travels of 1282, he reported seeing manned kites.
Chinese shipping merchants would tie someone (usually a drunkard) to a huge
frame (kite) held by eight strings and how, having launched the kite with the drunk
in the wind, they would determine whether the voyage would be a prosperous
voyage or not. He also explained how the men would pull on the rope attached to
the eight strings to lift the kite higher. If he flew straight up, it was a good omen for
the voyage; if he failed to rise, no merchant would load his wares onto that ship.
Around 1485 Leonardo da Vinci drew detailed plans for a human-powered ornithopter
(a wing-flapping device intended to fly). There is no evidence that he actually attempted
to build such a device, although the image he presented was a powerful one. Leonardo also produced
detailed plans for other flying machines, including a helicopter and parachute.
On January 3, 1496 he unsuccessfully tested a flying machine he had constructed.
He had over 100 drawings that illustrated his theories on flight.
In 1783 Daniel Bernoulli, a Swiss mathmatician and physicist, formulated
the Bernoulli Principle. Bernoulli’s Principle states that as the speed of a moving
fluid increases, the pressure within the fluid decreases. One way of understanding how an
airfoil develops lift relies upon the pressure differential above and below a wing. The pressure
can be calculated by finding the velocities around the wing and using Bernoulli's equation.
On Septermber 19, 1783 the Montgolfier brothers launched an unmanned hot-air
balloon from Versailles. Louis XVI had decreed that the first flight should be
flown with animals. A duck, a sheep, and a rooster became the first air travellers.
On October 15, 1783, a physicist named Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and an
army major named the Marquis Francois d’Arlandes were the first men to fly
a hot-air balloon named, "Aerostat Reveillon." Joseph and Jacquest Montgolfier
designed the hot-air balloon made of cloth and paper. The balloon was heated
by burning wool and straw. It was tethered and rose to 84 feet.
A month later, on November 21, 1783, De Rozier and the Marquis d’Arlandes flew,
untethered, to 500 feet and traveled about five and a half miles in a 20-minute flight,
the first ‘free flight’ made by man. Over 400,000 Parisians, including Louis XVI and
Marie Antoinette, witnessed this historic event.
On January 7, 1785, Jean Pierre Blanchard and Dr. John Jeffries, an American physician,
made the first flight over the English Channel, traveling from Dover, England, to Calais, France.
In the same year, Blanchard gave the first successful demonstration of the use of a parachute when
a basket containing a small animal was dropped from a balloon and parachuted to earth,
later parachute descents of Andre Garnerin.
On October 22, 1797 André Jacques Garnerin made the first successful high parachute
jump above Paris. After ascended to an altitude of 3,200 feet (975 m) in an hydrogen
balloon he jumped from the basket. As Garnerin failed to include an air vent at the
top of his parachute, he oscillated wildly in his descent. However, he landed unhurt
half a mile from the balloon's takeoff site. Garnerin therefore became the
first man to
design a parachute that was capable of slowing a man's fall from a high altitude.
Sir George Cayley, sometimes called the “Father of Aviation” was the first
to identify the four aerodynamic forces of flight: weight, lift, drag, and thrust,
and their relationship and also the first to build a successful human-carrying glider.
In 1849 he designed and built a glider that a 10-year-old son of one of his servants
flew a short flight (becoming the first human flight). Four years later, in 1853 and
fifty years before the first powered flight was made at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina,
Cayley built a triplane glider (a glider with three horizontal wing structures) that
carried his coachman 900 feet (275 meters) across Brompton Dale in the north
of England before crashing.
In 1883 Osborne Reynolds proposed the Reynolds numbers. In fluid dynamics these numbers
provide a criterion for determining dynamic similarity. Where two similar objects in perhaps
different fluids with possibly different flowrates have similar fluid flow around them, they
are said to be dynamically similar.
The Reynolds number is the ratio of inertial forces to viscous forces, and is used for
determining whether a flow will be laminar or turbulent. Laminar flow occurs at low
Reynolds numbers, where viscous forces are dominant, and is characterized by smooth,
constant fluid motion, while turbulent flow, on the other hand, occurs at high Reynolds
numbers and is dominated by inertial forces, producing random eddies, vortices and
other flow fluctuations.
In 1886, Clément Ader flew a short distance in a steam powered aircraft named the "Éole."
On October 9, 1890 the second version of the Éole flew 40 yards. In August 1892,
the Éole II accomplished a feat of 200 yards at a field in Satory, a village south of Versailles in France.
On October 14, 1897, at Satory, the Éole III, also known as the Avion rolled, took off towards
the sky and flew a distance of more than 300 yards, the first verified mechanical flight,
and made its inventor "the father of aviation", but the meteorological conditions were bad,
and Ader evidently did not have much notion of piloting; the Avion could not
completely travel the circular course which the french war commission required,
the flying machine left the runway and was damaged.
In 1887 Captain Thomas Baldwin invented the parachute harness. Tom Baldwin, a former
circus trapeze artist, made his first balloon ascent in 1875 and spent the next 10 years
performing in balloons at thousands of shows and fairs across the country. To spice up
his performance, on 30 January 1885 he made one of the first parachute jumps from a
balloon in history. He made many more jumps, becoming known as "The Father of
the Modern Parachute."
In 1900, Baldwin set out to create an act of greater daring and began investigating
motorized balloons. Using a motorcycle engine built by Glenn Hammond Curtiss
and an elongated balloon, Baldwin created the dirigible California Arrow, which
flew the first circuitous flight in America on 3 August 1904. The Army Signal Corps
became interested in the airship idea and offered to pay him $10,000 for a practical
means of dirigible aerial navigation. Baldwin created a dirigible that was 95 feet
long and powered by a newly-designed Curtiss engine. The Army purchased it
and designated its first dirigible "SC-I" (Signal Corps Dirigible Number 1).
Thus, Baldwin became known as "The Father of the American Dirigible."
In 1910 Baldwin built his own airplane, the first to feature a all-steel framework
rather than wood, and called it the "Red Devil." It was powered by a 60 horsepower
Hall-Scott engine. He formed a troupe of aerial performers and toured several countries
in the Far East, making the first airplane flights in many nations. In 1914 he returned
temporarily to dirigible design and development, creating the US Navy's first successful
dirigible, the DN-I. He then began training airplane pilots and managed the Curtiss
School at Newport News, Virginia. One of his students was the young Billy Mitchell,
later to become a great advocate and champion of American military airpower.
When the United States entered the First World War, Baldwin volunteered his services
to the Army, even though he was 62 years old. He was commissioned a Captain in the
Aviation Section of the Signal Corps and appointed Chief of Army Balloon Inspection
and Production. Consequently, he personally inspected every lighter-than-air craft built
for and used by the Army during the war. He was promoted to the rank of Major during
the war. After the war he joined the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio,
as a designer and manufacturer of airships.
Few in the fledgling brotherhood of early aviators was better loved than "Captain Tom"
Baldwin. He was an unrivaled showman, aircraft designer, and inventor, making
tremendous and lasting innovations in a career that spanned nearly 50 years. He died
in 1923 at the age of 68 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with military honors.
Between 1891 and 1896, Otto Lilienthal developed the first man
carrying gliders and flew over 2000 flights. Before his death,
he had built eighteen models—fifteen monoplanes and three biplanes.
On October 19, 1901 Santos-Dumont, of Brazil, won the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize of
100,000 francs for flying his dirigible Number 6 from the Parc Saint Cloud to
the Eiffel Tower and back under thirty minutes. In a charitable gesture, he donated
half of the prize money to the poor of Paris. The other half was given
workmen as a bonus.
On March 31, 1903 Richard Pearse climbed into a self-built monoplane
and flew for about 140 meters before crashing into a gorse hedge on his
Waitohi property in New Zealand. Pearse said that he had made a powered
take off “but at too low a speed for his controls to work.” Verifiable
eyewitnesses describe him crashing into this hedge on two separate occasions
during 1903. 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.
On August 18, 1903 Karl Jatho, a german inventor flew his self-made motored
gliding airplane 200 feet 10 feet off the ground.
On December 17, 1903 the Wrights took to the air, both of them twice.
The first flight, by Orville (pictured above left), of 39 meters (120 feet) in 12 seconds,
was recorded in a famous photograph. In the fourth flight of the same day,
the only flight made that day which was actually controlled,
Wilbur Wright flew 279 meters (852 ft) in 59 seconds.
On February 2, 1912, stuntman Frederick Rodman Law jumped off the torch
of the Statue of Liberty, using a manually operated parachute called the Stevens Life-Pack.
A movie company, Pathe, shot the stunt for a film and paid him $1,500. By trade, Law
was a steeplejack who built and repaired steeples and towers, but he became the first
“Hollywood” stuntman. His daring cinematic feats included jumping into the Hudson
River from a burning balloon that had been dynamited, jumping off the Brooklyn
Bridge and leaping off the Bankers Trust Building at the corner of Broad and Wall
Streets in Manhattan. In April 1912, he became the first person to jump from a hydroplane.
On April 21, 1918, at age 25, Manfred von Richthofen, the “Red Baron”
died in the skies over Vaux sur Somme, France. He was chasing British pilot,
Wilfred May flying a Sopwith Camel. Richthofen followed the erratic path
of the novice pilot until a single bullet, shot from behind him, passed diagonally
through his chest. The shot is commonly believed to have come from Australian
gunners on the ground, but might have also come from the guns of Canadian
flier Arthur “Roy” Brown who was coming to May’s aid. Manfred von
Richthofen crashed into a field alongside the road from Corbie to Bray. His
body was recovered by British forces, and he was buried with full military
honors. In a time of wooden and fabric aircraft, when twenty air victories
insured a pilot legendary status and the coveted Pour Le Mérite (the famous
“Blue Max”) , Richthofen had eighty victories, and is regarded to this day
as the ace of aces.
On May 20-21, 1927 Charles Augustus Lindbergh lifted
his Wright-powered Ryan monoplane, Spirit of St. Louis,
from Roosevelt Field, N.Y., to stay aloft 33 hr. 39 min. and travel 3,600 mi
to Le Bourget Field outside Paris to record the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight.
On May 27, 1931 Auguste Piccard and Paul Kipfer took off from
Augsburg, Germany, and reached a record altitude of 51,775 ft.
During this flight, Piccard was able to gather substantial data on
the upper atmosphere, as well as measure cosmic rays.
On August 18, 1932 launched from Zürich, Switzerland, Piccard
and Max Cosyns made a second record-breaking ascent to
53,152 ft. He ultimately made a total of twenty-seven
balloon flights setting a final record of 72,177 ft.
In 1953 Auguste Piccard and his son Jacque dove 3150 meters below the ocean
on the Bathyscaphe. This placed Auguste Piccard as the man who had flown the
highestand had dove the deepest.
On May 20–21, 1932 Amelia Earhart, flying a Pratt & Whitney
Wasp-powered Lockheed Vega, flew alone from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland,
to Ireland in approximately 15 hr. becoming the first woman to fly solo across the atlantic.
Between 1930 and 1961, 72 out of 75 birdmen died while trying to achieve their dream.
One of the survivors was legendary Harry Ward – "The Yorkshire Birdman" survived two
seasons. In 1930 s Harry was able, not only controll the fall but actually fly with his wings.
He was able to make figure eights and open his chute while stable. He was also smart enough
to stop after two years and live happy life.
Léo Valentin was maybe the most famous birdman of all. As well as a birdman, he can be
considered as the developer of skydiving as a sport. He made his first jump in 1938 in
Armeé de l'Air in Baraki, Algeria and and made hundreds of jumps after that. He was the
first man to resolve and learn the basics of free fall aerodynamics. That made him able to
fall in stable position (Valentins position is an arched delta position) both on his belly and
also on his back, complete turns and barrel rolls. Valentin made his first wing jump at
Villacoublay airfied with wings that were made of canvas, but he was not satisfied with
them as he could not achieve any forward speed. He then built a series of rigid wings and
tested them in a wind tunnel. It's claimed that with these wings he managed to cover some
distance in air. Léo Valentin died 1956 as he hit a part of his wings with the plane on exit,
which resulted in a spin he could not stop, and resulted in a malfunction in his parachute.
On October 14, 1947 Captain Charles E. Yeager in the Bell X-1
rocket-propelled experimental aircraft named the Glamorous Glennis, was the first man to exceed
the speed of sound in level flight. The X-l, reached Mach 1.06, 700 mph, at an
ltitude of 43,000 feet, over the Mojave Desert near Muroc Dry Lake, California.
On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union successfully launched the unmanned Sputnik I.
The world's first artificial
satellite was about the size of a basketball,
weighed only 183 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth
on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military,
technological, and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a
single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race.
On November 3, 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 2
into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. On board was Laika
as Kudryavka (Little Curly in Russion).
Laika became the first animal to go into orbit "roughly" 2000 miles above Earth.
On August 15, 1958 Francis Rogallo and his wife Gertude tested the first successful Rogallo wing.
Francis Rogallo began his career as an engineer with the National Advisory Committee
for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1936. While working at the NACA Langley Research
Center in Hampton, Virginia, in the late 1940s, he envisioned the possibility of a simpler,
more practical, and less expensive aircraft for sport and recreation. Since the research
center did not wish to undertake such a project, Rogallo decided to pursue the idea on
his own in his spare time. Rogallo conceived the thought of making an aircraft wing as
a parachute-like flexible structure that would open and maintain its shape by wind
pressure. With his wife Gertrude's help, he made small models that were tested in a wind
tunnel at their home.
The wing was constructed from material scavenged from old kitchen curtains. He launched
his model from the the vicinity of the refrigerator toward the living room. The miniature craft
floated nearly a third of the way across, seeming a kind of ghostly manta ray, or perhaps a
child's version of an advanced Stealth fighter. The glider dropped with barely a whisper to
the carpet behind a sofa, gently delivering its cargo, a graying ping-pong ball attached with
strings to the glider's glossy aluminum-coated surface.
The model's deceptive size belies its importance. This small, nearly 40-year-old ``parawing''
is directly responsible for the modern sport of hang gliding - as well as for late-century
improvements to the ancient art of kite flying.
Francis and Gertrude Rogallo are considered the parents of modern hang gliding. In 1971,
hang gliders built using the flexible wing design appeared in the world's first hang glider
meet in California, marking a milestone in the evolution of non-powered flight.
On December 13, 1958 the U.S. Army launched Jupiter AM-13
carrying a squirrel monkey named Gordo to take a suborbital flight.
On January 23, 1960 Jacques Piccard, the son of Auguste Piccard went 7 miles
deep to the bottom of the Marianas Trench in a submarine called the Trieste.
On August 16, 1960 Joseph Kittinger jumped from the Excelsior III
at an altitude of 102,800 feet to set the record for highest and longest freefall
of 4 minutes 36 seconds before his parachute opened at 17,500 feet.
He reached a speed of 614 miles per hour.
On April 5, 1961 Cmdr. M.D. Ross (U.S.) and Lt. Cmdr. V.A. Prather flew the Lee Lewis
Memorial Balloon 113,739.9 ft over the Gulf of Mexico to set the balloon world altitude record.
They landed in the Gulf of Mexico where, with his pressure suit filling with water,
and unable to stay afloat, Prather drowned.
On April 12, 1961 Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin became the first man in space
as pilot of the spasceship Vostok 1. He orbited the earth and landed 108 minutes later.
On April 20, 1961 Harold Graham flew a rocket pack untethered for 13 seconds
over a 112 foot distance. The hydrogen peroxide reaction rocket engine was developed
by Wendell F. Moore of Bell Aerosystems between 1953 and the mid 1960's.
Moore had flown the jet pack tethered in the winter of 1958.
On October 18, 1963 France launched a black and white stray
tomcat of Paris named Felix on Veronique AGI sounding rocket
No. 47 from the Hammaguir test range in Algeria. He became the first cat
in space at an altitude of 120 miles descending safely under parachute.
In March of 1964 Domina Jalbert's parafoil was successfully privately flown -
the Ram Air Parafoil was born. "The parafoil is the combination of the best of the balloon and the kite."
"The Parafoil was not invented as a descending device, but as an ascending one."
On October 15, 1965 Dave Barish of New York, accomplished the first "slope soaring."
On July 21, 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.
On Jaunuary 26, 1972 Vesna Vulovic, a flight attendant from Yugoslavia,
survived a fall from 10,160 m (33,330 ft) when the DC-9 airplane
she was traveling in blew up over Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic).
A terrorist bomb was thought to be the cause, and no other passengers
survived. Vesna broke both legs and was temporarily paralyzed
from the waist down. “I was so lucky to have survived!
I hit the earth – not the trees, not the snow, but the frozen ground.”
In 1974, Julian Nott and Jim Woodman built a balloon from native cotton
and reed to prove the Inca’s could have used balloons to design the giant
drawings in the desert of Peru. They constructed a gondola of totora reeds
and stitched-together sheets of cotton cloth that they filled with the hot air
from wood smoke. Their balloon, dubbed Condor I, quickly rose to over
300 feet, proving that it was at least possible for the South American
natives of this region to have achieved lighter-than-air flight long before
On September 1, 1974, the SR-71 Spy Plane set a record from New York to London
in 1 hour, 54 minutes, and 56.4 seconds, flown by Majors James V. Sullivan and
Noel F. Widdifield.
On September 13, 1974, an SR-71A set a speed record from London to Los Angeles
of 3 hours and 47 minutes at an average speed of 1,435.587 mph flown by Captains
Harold B. Adams and William C. Machorek.
On July 27, 1976, the SR-71 set a Speed Over a Straight Course record at
a speed of 2,193.167 mph, flown by Captain Eldon W. Joersz and Major George T. Morgan.
On July 28, 1976, an SR-71A set an
Altitude in Horizontal Flight record at 85,068.997 feet, flown by Captain Robert Helt
and Major Larry A. Elliott. On that same day, the aircraft set the Speed Over a Closed
Course record of 2,092.294 mph, flown by Majors Adolphus H. Bledsoe and John T. Fuller.
On March 6, 1990, Lt. Colonel’s Ed Yeilding and Joseph T. Vida
set a coast-to-coast record of 1 hour and 7 minutes with an average speed of 2124.5
mph. In that same flight, the crew also set 3 other records including Los Angeles to
Washington DC with a world time of 1 hour and 4 minutes.
On September 8, 1974 Evel Knievel attempted to jump across a section
of the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. Despite two failed unmanned
practice attempts, Evel decided to go forward with the jump for the fans
in attendance and ABC, which was televising the event live. In place of his
signature Harley Davidson, Evel attempted this jump in a sky cycle -- a
jet-powered sled that took off from an inclined metal runway constructed
on the edge of the canyon by the Knievel team.
Seconds after Evel Knievel’s sky cycle cleared the edge of the canyon, his
parachute ejected prematurely. As fans, family, crew and ABC watched Evel
descend into the canyon, it appeared he was heading directly for the river.
Landing in the river would have meant certain death. Luckily, Evel and the sky
cycle were saved because they landed on the rocks on the far edge of the river.
On October 25, 1975 5 months after breaking his pelvis during landing
while jumping over 13 double-tiered buses, Evel successfully jumped
14 Greyhound buses at King's Island in Ohio and landed safely.
On August 23, 1977, Bryan Allen pedalled the Gossamer Condor,
7 minutes and 27 seconds through a 1.15 mile figure 8 course to successfully
demonstrated sustained, maneuverable manpowered flight and won the £50,000
($95,000) Kremer Prize. The Gossamer Condor traveled a total of 1.35 miles
from takeoff to landing. Its flight speed was between 10 and 11 mph, with Allen,
a championship bicyclist and hang-glider enthusiast, developing
one-third horsepower. Dr. Paul B. MacCready and Dr. Peter
Lissaman, both of Pasadena, California, designed the Gossamer
Condor, which is made of thin aluminum tubes covered with
mylar plastic and braced with stainless steel wires.
On June 12, 1979 Bryan Allen, a professional cyclist, pedalled the
Gossamer Albatross across the English Channel. Dr. Paul MacCready
designed the pedal-powered aircraft made of Mylar, Kevlar, and a
Carbon Fiber frame weighing 70 pounds with a 96-foot wingspan.
His flight took 2 hours and 49 minutes and he landed safely in France.
On September 15, 1979 Peter Streizyk and Guenter Wetzel made a
hot air balloon designed to carry their two families over the Berlin Wall to
freedom. After spending over a year on the project the first escape attempt
failed when the balloon landed short of the border with only the XXX family on
board. On the second attempt both families crossed 40 kilometers of East German
territory in 28 minutes and landed in West Germany.
On July 2, 1982 Larry Walters attached 45 weather balloons to a Sears
lawnchair dubbed the “Insperation I”. Armed with some sandwiches,
Miller Lite and a pellet gun, Larry ascended to 16,000 feet and crossed
the primary approach corridor of LAX. A TWA pilot first spotted Larry
and radioed the tower that he was passing a guy in a lawn chair at 16,000!
Larry floated around for 14 hours before shooting a few of the balloons
and slowly decended. The tethers caught in a power line, blacking out a
Long Beach neighborhood for 20 minutes. Larry climbed down to safety,
he gave away his lawn chair to a "neighborhood kid" and was arrested by
the LAPD. Asked why he did it, he replied, “A man can’t just sit around.”
On February 7, 1984 Capt. Bruce McCandless II was the first
to engage in an untethered spacewalk, from the spacecraft Challenger,
at an altitude of 164 miles above Hawaii. He made his historic
spacewalk, with an MMU (Manned Maneuvering Unit)
backpack, which cost $15 million to develop.
On September 14, 1984 Joseph Kittinger became the first person
to solo fly a balloon across the Atlantic Ocean. Setting out on
September 14, 1984, from Caribou, Maine, in the
3,000-cubic-meter-Rosie O’Grady, he floated 3,543 miles (5,702 kilometers),
touching down in Cairo Montenotte, Italy, on September 18,
by Kittinger’s account, 83 hours and 40 minutes after launch.
On February 17, 1986 Robert Harris flew a Grob 102 Standard Astir III sailplane
to a height of 49,009 feet over Mt. Whitney in the Sierra Nevades of California
to set the sailplane altitude record.The G-102 has a wingspan of 49 feet 2 inches
has a glide ratio of 38:1.
In 1987, Dennis Joyce set the official boomerang aloft record (with self-catch)
of 2 minutes, 59.94 seconds at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. But the unofficial record
(which was witnessed and timed) is more than 17 minutes. It was set by John
Gorski of Lorraine, Ohio, in 1993. The boomerang hovered over a river,
caught an updraft, then flew over a highway. It traveled more than a mile.
Then it flew back to Mr. Gorski - who caught it!
On Aug. 30, 1991 Mike Powell beat Carl Lewis in 1991 to become
world record holder in the long jump. His jump of 29 feet 4-1/2
inches surpassed Bob Beamon’s record that stood for 23 years.
On January 6, 1993 Robbie Whittal gained 4,526 meters of altitude over Brandulei, South Africa
on a Firebird Navajo Proto paraglider to set the world record in altitude gain in a paraglider.
Robbie is also the first person to win both the World Hang Gliding Championships
and the Paragliding World Championships.
In April of 1993 Patrick De Gayardon won the first skysurfing world compitition in Eloy, Arizona.
He set a record for the highest jump without oxygen at 42,000 feet.
He later made major contributions to the development of the Bird Man flying suit.
He once left a plane, flew alongside it in his Bird Man suit, and then re-entered the plane.
He died on April 13, 1998 during a jump in Hawaii after making modifications to his suit.
In 1996 a 10 member sky diving team was created named the
"Flying Elvi" for a scene in the movie “Honeymoon in Vegas”.
These guys became instant celebrities.
On May 24 th, 1996 Yves Rossy launched his sky surf board off a hot air balloon.
The balloon took off from Yverdon to start its ascension over the Neuchatel Lake.
Arriving at an altitude of 2500m, Yves started his own take-off. After a picking up
of speed that lasts 3 seconds, he jumped into the air and fell for 15 seconds before
safely opening his parachute.
Read More Here
On July 26, 1998 a World Record formation skydive of 246 people
was built over Skydive Chicago, Illinois from an altitude of 20,000ft.
The formation was held for 7.3 seconds and is a World Record,
beating the previous record of 200 built in Florida during July 1992.
The record-breaking jump was the twenty-fourth out of a planned
twenty-five that were to be made over the period of 19 - 26 July.
Jump number 20 completed as a 259-way but was held for only
2.2 seconds, 0.8 seconds longer would have made that a record.
On October 8, 1998 Ken Blackburn hand launched a
at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta,
Georgia to set the flight duration world record of 27.6 seconds.
On March 1st, 1999 Bertrand Piccard, the grandson of Auguste Piccard, and
Brian Jones launched the Breitling Orbiter 3 from Châteaux-d’Oex, in the Swiss Alps.
On March 20, 1999 they became the first to circle all the way around
the world in a balloon and landed the following day in Egypt.
In 1999, Adrian Nicholas set the record for longest unassisted human
flight and longest delay of 4 minutes 55 seconds using a wing suit
designed by Patrick De Gayardon. He started at 30,000 feet and flew 10 miles.
In the late winter of 2000, Hannes Arch coordinated an IMAX movie stunt
where an Audi A6 was launched from the Aspen mountains under
a 60 square meter paraglider.
In June of 2000 Hannes Arch and Ueli "Sputnik" Gegenschatz base jumped
off the north face of the Eiger. Thier freefall lasted 13 seconds before they
had to pull thier parachutes.
On July 2, 2000 Adrian Nicholas, dropped from a hot air balloon 10,000 feet
above Mpumalanga, South Africa, using a design Leonard Da Vinci sketched
in 1483. The parachute weighed 187 pounds and was constructud with materials
that would have been available during medieval Milan. Adrian cut himself free
when he reached 2000 feet and deployed a second modern parachute so that he
wouldn’t be injured by the heavy parachute during landing.
Da Vinci said of his design, “If a man is provided with a length
of gummed linen cloth with a length of 12 yards on each side
and 12 yards high, he can jump from any great
height whatsoever without injury.”
Between May 31 and September 6, 2000 Colin Bodill, once pilot of Princess Diana,
achieved the fastest microflight around the world in 99 days.
On May 24, 2001 Claire And Zebulon Roche flew a Ozone Tandem Paraglider
from the summit of Mt. Everest. In October of 2002 the couple completed flying
each of the 7 highest summits of the 7 continents by flying off Kosiusko in Australia.
The 7 highest summits from each continent include: Aconcagua in South América,
6,960 m, Kilimanjaro in Africa, 5,894 m, MacKinley in North America, 6,187 m,
Elbrouz in Europe, 5,633 m, Vinson in Antartica, 5,000 m, Everest in Asia,
8,850 m, Kosiusko in Australia, 2,228 m.
Between May 1 and June 17th, 2001 Will Gadd flew a motorized Ozone Octane paraglider
(paramotor) across the United states. The trip started in Ventura, California and ended at
Kittyhawk, North Carolina.
On July 17, 2001 Manfred Ruhmer flew 700.6 km on an Icaro 2000 Laminar MRx
unpowered hang glider from Zapata, Texas to set the hang gliding distance world record.
On August 13, 2001, the Helios solar-electric unmanned flying wing set a
world altitude record for winged aircraft by flying 96,863 feet. It launched
from a Naval base on Kauai, Hawaii. It has a wing span of 247 feet, weighs
2,400 pounds, has 14 propellers and has a speed of 200 mph when aloft.
On April 26, 2002 Christian Sandström threw a Valkyrie DX frisbee
830 feet to set the outdoor frisbee distance record.
On June 19, 2002 Mike Barber flew 704 km (437.8 miles) from Zapata, Texas
on a Moyes Litespeed 4 hang glider to
set the unofficial hang gliding distance world record.
On June 20, 2002 David Prentice flew an Ozone Proton unpowered paraglider 240 miles
from Zapata, Texas to set the paragliding distance world record.
On June 21, 2002 Will Gadd flew a Gin Boomerang unpowered Paraglider 263 miles
Texas north to a point just south of Ozona, Texas to set the unpowered paragliding
distance world record. The flight lasted 10 hours 38 minutes.
On July 4, 2002 Steve Fossett became the first person to solo circumnavigate
the earth by balloon. He flew the 180 foot tall Bud Light Spirit of Freedom between
June 19 and July 4, starting and ending in Australia. It was his sixth attempt. The
a Rozlere type which
used helium and hot air.
On July 20th, 2002 Brent Bell threw a disc 726 feet on the 18th hole to make a
hole-in-one to set the world record for longest ace. The flight had a 185 foot
decent to pin. According to witnesses, the disc hit about 4 thermals and
“toilet bowled” in the bottom of the basket.
In August of 2002, 60 year old David Smith Sr. flew 201 feet from a cannon
to set the world record for Human Cannonball Flight. Five of Smith’s
eight children also are human cannonballs.
On July 14, 2003 Erin Hemmings tossed an Aerobie flying ring 1,333 feet
at Fort Funston, near San Francisco to set a world record for the longest thrown object.
He estimated the launch velocity to have been between 80-85mph
and the Aerobie was airborne for over 30 seconds.
On March 23, 2003 Matti Hautamaeki of Finland jumped
757.8 feet at Planica, Slovenia to set the world record ski jump.
On May 19, 2003 Hannes Arch and Ueli "Sputnik" Gegenschatz base jumped
off the 4478 m. tall Matterhorn in Switzerland. They had to pull their chutes in
2 seconds to avoid hitting the rocks.
On May 28, 2003 Mad Mike Kung flew across the English Channel
in an Ozone Vulcan unpowered Paraglider from France to England.
Mike released from a helicopter at 5,300 meters above the French
coast and deployed his paraglider. His flight took 40 minutes.
On July 26, 2003 Christian Sandström set the frisbee world record
for throw, sprint and catch at 94 meters.
On July 31, 2003 Felix Baumgartner jumped from a plane at 30,000 feet and
flew with a wing like carbin fibre fin 22 miles across the English Channel in 10 minutes,
reaching speeds of 220 mph. He flew from over Dover, England to Calais, France.
Felix was also the first to BASE jump from the world's tallest building, Malaysia's
Petrona Towers and also the statue of Christ in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Read More Here
On April 30, 2004 Mad Mike Kung set the altitude record for flying a
paraglider at 10,100 meters. Mike was lifted by a hot air balloon and it took
35 minutes to reach jumping altitude, which had a temperature
of -65 degrees Centigrade. Mike released from the balloon and
deployed his paraglider. It took 25 minutes to get down.
He landed 25 miles from where he started.
On June 24, 2004 Yves Rossy made the first ever jet powered man flight. He used
rigid and foldable wings, with a 3 meter wing span equipped with mini kerosene
turbines, his horizontal flight lasted 4 minutes.
On August 22, 2004 Raul and Felix Rodriguez won the Vertigo paragliding
syncronized aerobatics world championships for the 5th straight time. Raul is considered
the best paragliding acro pilot in the world and invented the SAT maneuver.
On September 7, 2004 Will Gadd flew a Gin Zoom
unpowered Paraglider across the Grand Canyon.
On December 4, 2004 Steve Fossett and Terry Delore flew a straight line sailplane world distance
record of 1,358 miles between El Calafate, Argentina and San Juan, Argentina.
He flew an ASH 25M sailplne 15 hours and 42 minutes.
Between February 28 and March 3, 2005 Steve Fosset flew the first non-stop
round-the-world airplane flight on the Atlantic Virgin GlobalFlyer from Salina, Kansas.
The flight lasted 67 hours, 2 minutes, 38 seconds. The plane has a wingspan of 114 feet,
cruises at 285 mph and flew up to 52,000 feet.
In March of 2005, Jimmy Hall became the first person to ever jump a normal,
production paraglider out of an airplane and then freefall before opening.
Jimmy has been jumping from altitudes of up to 12,500 feet at his home
dropzone in Hawaii with his Vulcan DHV 2. It took a lot of research and a lot
of courage, but after working with the rigger at his local dropzone, Jimmy designed
a special deployment bag, slider, and pilot chute system to deploy his glider from freefall.
On September 4, 2005 21 BASE jumpers set a Span World Record at the Twin Falls Bridge.
On September 16, 2005 Miles Daisher set a world record for the most BASE jumps
in a 24 hour period. He jumped off the 486 foot Perrine Bridge into the Snake River Canyon
57 times in 24 hours. Miles is 36 years old with wife and child. He raised $15,000
to benefit Parachuting for Kids, an organization to help disabled children.
Depending on the air current, flying squirrels may glide 150 feet or more
from a height of 60 feet. They can turn easily at right angles while gliding
and control the direction of their glide by tensing and turning their legs and
body and flapping their tail. As a flying squirrel approaches its landing,
the squirrel flips its tail up and holds its body back to slow the glide down,
giving the squirrel ample time to position its feet for grasping the tree trunk.
Flying squirrels usually land face up and often run up the tree immediately
Hummingbirds can fly right, left, up, down, backwards, even upside down.
While other birds get their flight power from the downstroke only, hummingbirds
have strength on the up-stroke, as well. A hummingbird's wing is flexible at the
shoulder, but inflexible at the wrist. When hovering, hummingbirds hold their
bodies upright and flap their wings horizontally in a shallow figure-8. As the
wings swing back they tilt flat for a moment before the wings are drawn
Most hummingbirds flap their wings about 50 or so times a second.
The tiny feet of hummingbirds are almost useless except for perching; if hummers
want to travel two inches, they must fly. Hummingbirds lift from perches without
pushing off; they rise entirely on their own power, flapping their wings at almost
full speed before lifting off. Though they fly very fast, they can suddenly stop and
make a soft landing. They are so light they do not build up much momentum.
As a result of their unique but inefficient means of flight, they must consume
enormous amounts of food each day, with nectar often amounting to twice their
body weight. Insects provide protein for their diet.
Most famous and largest of the albatrosses, the "wanderer" roams the Southern Ocean
with its 11-1/2 foot wingspan. They often follow visiting ships, wheeling and floating
hypnotically at a distance for hours at a time. Effortlessly gliding on the wind, they are
capable of round trips of thousands of kilometers over several days. They swoop low
over ocean swells, dipping down when the sea falls and rising when the wave rises.
Their wings are capable of "locking" into an extended position, thereby reducing strain
over long flights. There are records of albatrosses living for over 80 years.
The name albatross is likely derived from the Spanish or Portuguese word alcatraz,
meaning large bird.
In folklore the Albatross carried the soul of dead mariners. Should a sailor kill the bird,
bad luck would fall upon him for the rest of his natural life.
Flyingfish are found in all the major oceans. Their most striking feature is their pectoral fins,
which are unusually large, and enable the fish to take short gliding flights, some have been
observed soaring for hundreds of metres using the updraft on the leading edges of waves.
Flyingfish use this ability to escape predators (they can't see beyond the water's surface).
Most species reach a maximum length of 30cm, though a few may be as long as 45cm.
In gliding, flyingfish can almost double their speed, reaching speeds up to 60km/h.
Monarchs Butterflys are especially known for their lengthy annual migration. They make
massive southward migrations from August through October. A northward migration
takes place in the spring. Female Monarch butterflies deposit eggs for the next generation
during these migrations. The population east of the Rocky Mountains overwinters in
Michoacán, Mexico, and the western population overwinters in various sites in central
coastal California, United States, notably in Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz. The length
of these journeys far exceeds the lifetime of any given butterfly. How the species manages
to return to the same overwintering spots over a gap of several generations remains a mystery.
In it's trip south the little butterfly travels about 70 miles per day; it travels over
in about 25 days. It only flies during the day. During the night they eat. The descendants from last year's
trip feed on alkaloid plants commonly called swamp milkweed or cow's tongue which are poisonous to
other species. For the monarch this is a form of protection as if a bird would try to eat it the bird would
die from an accelerating heart rate. Knowing this all the birds leave the colorful monarch alone.
This is one of the few insects to manage transatlantic crossings. A few Monarchs turn up
in the far southwest of Great Britain in any year when the wind conditions are right.
Dandelion seeds are carried away by the wind and travel like tiny parachutes.
A strong wind can carry the parachutes miles away from the parent plant.
A dandelion is really many tiny flowers bunched together. After a dandelion blooms,
each of its tiny flowers produces a seed. Each seed is attached to a stem with white fluffy threads.