Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Man's First Flight Day to Remember

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Man's First Flight Day to Remember

Article excerpt

I WONDER if you are into Greek mythology. It's not high on my own list of must-reads but some people like that kind of thing.

As far as I am concerned there are plenty of myths and legends in The Chronicle on most days without getting involved in ancient extravaganzas.

I only mention it because of a bloke called Icarus whose name, for no obvious reason, crossed my mind the other afternoon.

I was sitting in the sun at the time.

Icarus had a dad called Daedalus, a smart guy who invented things.

His inventions included the Labyrinth of the Minataur at Knossos on the island of Crete, a wooden cow made for Queen Pasiphae, and a set of artificial wings, especially made for his son to enable him to escape from Crete.

They were made from feathers and wax and dad Daedalus very wisely advised his son not to fly too near the sun for fear the wax would melt.

Typically, Icarus foolishly ignored his old dad's warning, flew too high, melted the wax, lost his wings, plunged into the ocean and drowned.

Among Greek scholars he was widely known thereafter as Icky the Pricky and interest, as well as the wings themselves, quickly dropped off.

Staying with the flying theme, but moving from myth to reality, today's date, October 15, was very significant in the history of man's attempts to get airborne.

It was on this date in 1783 that the first manned flight took place.

The younger of the two Montgolfier brothers, Etienne Montgolfier, made a flight in one of the famous hot-air balloons he and his brother had constructed.

It was, very sensibly I reckon, tethered to the ground in order to prevent it floating away.

A second tethered flight was made later on the same day by Jean-FranE*ois PilEotre de Rozier.

He survived and, on November 21, accompanied by the Marquis d'Arlandes, made the first free, untethered, flight by human beings. …

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