Welcome to Pioneers Of Aviation, a blog in which I hope to present to you as factual as possible a history of flight: both lighter-than-air and heavier-than air.
This blog will examine history’s first attempts at flight, the mythologies of flight, ballooning, aeroplanes (airplanes), helicopters, even gliders. If there is modern news about the era – then I’ll do that too. Airshows where some of these elder statesmen of the air are – tell me and I’ll tell others. If you are building your own pioneer aeroplane – tell me and we can share your story.
Whatever the story, I shall do my best to ensure the data presented here is correct.
Part of that problem – especially when dealing with pioneer aviation – is to decode it. Some of the information out there is either wrong, pure bupkiss, hokum or even myth… but as long as we can determine what exactly it is, and if it lends something to the overall story of flight, perhaps it can be included.
What this blog will present – at least for now – is aviation history up to and including the end of World War I. That is the cut-off. Of course there have been a great deal of pioneering events in aviation after that (G-suits, Jets, Space travel et al), so my view on a fixed end point may change… but for now, it is what it is.
However… having said that… when it comes to women and aviation, or people of color, that 1919 cut-off date may not hold true… and I’m sure as heck not leaving them out! Great. I’ve contradicted myself already. Oh well… trial and error.
But where to begin? The obvious place would be at the beginning… wherever the heck that is.
Do I describe man’s first dream of going up into the wide blue yonder? Does anyone really know when that was? Cavemen?
Do I start with the Wright Brothers?
No. I’m going to play things a little bit differently.
First off… I am by no means an aviator. But I do like flying. I do like history. And I do like to write and research.
I am a Canadian, born in London, England, and am of Indian descent (dot not the feather).
Under my own name, I put out: Japan – It’s A Wonderful Rife about all things Japan; You Know What I Hate, an occasional blog about things that tick me off; and under a pseudonym, and adult blog. Combined, the Rife and adult blog regularly get about 4000 hits a day.
I do work as a magazine writer in my day job, and in my spare time pump out the odd comic book story, and enjoy watching sports, comedy and drama. Reality TV? My life is reality – who needs someone else’s?
So… where to start? The Silver Dart – Canada’s first aeroplane? The photo above is of the Silver Dart. It belongs to me, as it was given to me by my deceased father-in-law who got it from the wife of one of the five men who designed and built and flew the aeroplane back in 1909.
I am a collector. Knowing I was tapped to write an article for the 100th anniversary of the Silver Dart, I found, on E-Bay, a collector’s card of the plane and bought it, perhaps paying too much for it.
I quickly learned that the tobacco giant that had issued the card had created it to be part of a 50-card set in 1910. So I bought a very nice set for about $11. Apparently, I did NOT over-pay for this well-preserved set.
So that is where I will start. I will take the information contained on the back of these 50 aviation cards, and I will expand on them as much as I can.
Since undertaking the 50-card set, I learned of a few 75-card sets, and a couple of 85-card sets both from 1911, and also of multiple editions of 50-card sets from international versions of the same tobacco company… ahhhh, what fun for the collector, historian and writer that is me.
After that… well… I have a lot of other cool historical stories to put up – many already written. I may even show off some documents I’ll bet no one has ever seen before, as well as some original photos.
And, because I already said I am not an expert, if you are, or you know better and can better clarify something – by all means write in.
If there is a topic YOU want to write about, drop me a line… I don’t mind guest writers.
Okay… let’s get to work.