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the Wright brothers may have been the first to make a sustained,
controlled flight, they were just two among hundreds of brave men
and women who helped to give the world its wings during the earliest
days of aviation. Their Flyer was but one of many historically
important aircraft. Below are brief descriptions and photos of some of the most important
people and planes, and where available resources and links where you can find more
information. In some cases, contributors have supplied expanded
histories and biographies. Those are listed at the right and linked below.
dEsterno, France, in 1864 published the first scientific observations of the effects of the
wind on a wing in his pamphlet Du Vol des Oiseaux.
It called attention to the soaring flight of birds and promoted gliding as
the most likely way for man to learn to fly. The Count also designed and
patented a bird-like glider that may very well have influenced Ader's and
Lilienthal's later designs, but it was never built or tested.
Ferdinand d'Esterno's glider design, published in 1864.