Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 20, 2005 22:19:10 GMT 12
Today, March 20th, is the anniversary of the first officially recognised flight in New Zealand, on this day in 1911. The flight was made by Vivian Walsh in a Wright aircraft in Auckland. He gained a height of 60 feet and flew 400 metres.
Of course many contend that Pither beat him, and more contend that Richard Pearse was the first man to fly altogether, in March 1903. I read just the other day that some evidence shows he may have actually flown in March 1902, then taken a break and flown again in March 1903. This source says there is a huge amount of eyewitness reports recorded at the time. It didn't site any though. If this is the case why is it not recognised as the official first flight? Contentious issue I know.
The other anniversary today is this day in 1938, Clouston and Ricketts touched down in their DH88 Comet at Omaka in Blenheim. They'd flown from Englandto NZ in record time, and crossed the Tasman in a record of 7 hours 10 minutes.
Hi Dave, certainly the anniversary of two very significant events, back in the days when men were real men and women boiled the Sago to dope the men's aeroplanes (the Walsh machine was later eaten by cows who took a liking to the sago) I think Pither probably has a justifiable claim, certainly he was flying very close to the same time as the Washes. Colin Smith and the Croydon Aeroplane Co at Mandeville have just completed an accurate airworthy replica of Pithers machine and aparently it flies extremely well His machine was also a local design whereas the Wright - Farman of the Washes was a (very basic) kit. We could start all sorts of arguments over Richard Pearse and the eyewitness statements etc. The big issue really is not the dates but whether his attemps fit the criteria of sustained, controlled flight. according to almost all the eyewitness accounts this was not the case, which makes his attempts no more worthy than Ader or Langley. Pearse was however the Father of the homebuilt aircraft movement in NZ and epitomises the Kiwi DIY "Blokes in Sheds" attitude, so despite his lack of success I reckon hes a Hero of mine.
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...