Wild and inaccurate statements have been publicised from time to time concerning Richard Pearse's achievements in the field of aviation. However. no responsible researcher has ever claimed that he achieved fully controlled flight before the Wright brothers, or indeed at any time. To attain fully controlled flight a pilot would have to be able to get his plane into the air, fly it on a chosen course and land it at a predetermined destination. Obviously Pearse's short "hops" or "flights", whilst they established the fact that he could readily become airborne, did not come within this category, but neither, for that matter, did the first powered flights of the Wright brothers in December 1903. The Wiight brothers, however, had the resources necessary to continue their experimentation until they achieved fully controlled flight.
BIG SNIP of lots of witness reports.
Note: Approximately half of the statements were made by witnesses who claimed to have seen the Pearse plane leave the ground. Some saw more than one flight. Most of these accounts were recorded by aviation experts, George Bolt, Harold Cederman and other reliable researchers. Of the remaining accounts some were not first-hand but were statements made by relatives or friends of the persons who saw the flights, and others gave descriptions of the aircraft in the paddock or on the hedge and recalled incidents connected with Pearse's activities.
This was actually written by Geoffrey Rodliffe under the title Research.
Post by Parrotfish on Apr 23, 2011 11:44:03 GMT 12
What the hell are you going on about? You need to re-read the thread I think (or I do). Dave did not make that post and the individual who did gave full credit by providing the the link to the article at the start of their post. No other claims were made or I'm sure implied.
What are you on man???
It's not yours until the little infantry guy stands on it.
Chris, the original post of 8th April (which was in fact posted by forum member "Kiwithrottlejockey" - not Dave Homewood!) was quite obviously taken from the website highlighted at the beginning of the text, which was authored by Geoffrey Rodliffe.
I think you're are drawing a pretty long bow claiming that someone else is trying to claim authorship of Rodliffe's article, but if it helps to save further confusion, I will now edit the original post to include Rodliffe's name in the post.
Last Edit: Apr 23, 2011 18:15:10 GMT 12 by corsair67
Gordon Ogilvie's research is impressive, but it fails in many ways to meet the methodological rigour of a trained historian. Geoff Rodliffe likewise offers a compelling historical narrative of the evidence but neglects much of the historical context and broad developments of early aviation and engineering in his treatment.
Current works on Pearse are not academic. Both Ogilvie and Rodliffe give passing mention to leading authorities on early aviation, which highlights the difference between amateur and professional research. In a professional study the opposing or alternative positions are given close treatement, in order to orient the authors own work in relation to relevant literature in the field of study. Neither Ogilvie nor Rodliffe offer an adequate examination of relevant authorities on early aviation. For example both Ogilvie and Rodliffe offer only fleeting and dismissive responses to criticism of Bolt's research by leading historian of early aviation Sir Charles Gibbs-Smith.
The focus of Ogilvie and Rodliffe’s work is also limited to basic document analysis and rudimentary interpretation that lacks contextual analysis and professional methodology. For example, while there is no record that Pearse ever communicated with his aviation contemporaries, he did have access to aviation literature. Neither Ogilive nor Rodliffe offer a sufficient study of the aviation literature available during the early years of the twentieth century. Both authors speculate on a few historical works Pearse may have had access, and note that Pearse read Scientific American. Neither author offer the reader an analysis of the content within the range of literature available. Such an analysis would give insight into the ideas and information Pearse had access too, and how it shaped his own ideas or differed from what he had read. Rather, Ogilvie and Rodliffe unintentionally overlook such analysis, and in doing so exaggerate Pearse's “genius” as totally independent.
The treatment of witnesses is done in a legalistic manner i.e. sworn statements such as affidavits that are motivated by the establishment of “fact” and “responsibility” for events in legal terms. Where as a professional historian would seek to understand the historical perspective of the individual witness in order to assess the significance of the witness's viewpoint/statements. Although the collected witness accounts about Pearse are important, their unreliability make them of secondary value to documents produced by Pearse himself (letters to the Christchurch Star and Dunedin Evening Star, and his patents).
Finally, academic historians are more interested in the historical significance of what past individuals did, rather than attempting to establish the retrospective and arbitrary values such as "first" to do such-and-such. Even if Pearse had flown before anyone else, it is of little significance because it did not have any impact. Ogilvie attempts to explain away Pearse's lack of impact through supposed community hostility and Pearse's reclusive nature, but to Rodliffe's credit Pearse is shown to not have been a secretive recluse in his early years as Ogilvie portrays him.
The significance of Pearse in aviation history needs to be treated in relation to other early pioneers i.e. what are the similarities and differences between Pearse and others in the early twentieth century. Neither Ogilvie nor Rodliffe give sufficient attention to personalities and events on a global scale. And because of that, the supposed “isolation” of Pearse is exaggerated in the narrative by a lack of attention to what else was happening in the world.