First in flight

During a work visit to the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina (when I was at university), I had some spare time and decided to drive south, along the coast, planning to check out Cape Fear – I skipped the complex of narrow sandy islands along the north coast – one of them containing the town of Kitty Hawk – where the Wright brothers enjoyed their first success, today one hundred years ago (but I did buy a T-shirt with a picture of their plane to honor them). I must say, after listening to a series of documentaries on NPR on the Wright brothers and their competitors, my favorite aviation pioneer is definitely Alberto Santos-Dumont, rather than the Wrights or anyone else. Santos-Dumont was driven by passion, sometimes obsession and wasn’t just looking to make money, like the Wrights. One of his dreams was the ‘personal flying machine’ that he wanted every person to have – similar to Henry Ford’s stance on cars – a bit too optimistic it seems now, but still, he invented some amazing stuff; this book that I need to check out has been written about him…

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