Listing Detail Tabs
Published in 1973, First edition
Publisher: A. H. & A. W. Reed
Dimensions: 21.0 x 13.0 centimetres
"Richard William Pearse (1877-1953), a New Zealand farmer and inventor, performed pioneering experiments in aviation. Pearse appears to have successfully flown and landed a powered heavier-than-air machine on 31 March 1903, nine months before the Wright brothers. The documentary evidence to support such a claim remains open to interpretation, however, and he does not appear to have developed his aircraft to match the Wrights' achievement of sustained, controlled flight. Pearse himself made contradictory statements which for many years led the few who knew of his feats to accept 1904 as the date of his first flight. The lack of any chance of industrial development, such as spurred the Wrights to develop their machine, seems to have suppressed any recognition of Pearse's achievements ... Pearse made several attempts to fly in 1902, but due to insufficient engine-power he achieved no more than brief hops. The following year he redesigned his engine to incorporate double-ended cylinders with two pistons each ... Verifiable eyewitnesses describe his crashing into a hedge on two separate occasions during 1903. His monoplane must have risen to a height of at least 3 metres on each occasion. Good evidence exists that on 31 March 1903 Pearse achieved a powered, though poorly controlled, flight of several hundred metres. Pearse himself said that he had made a powered takeoff, "but at too low a speed for [his] controls to work"..."
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