The power of flight has been part of mankind’s fascination throughout all of human history. I remember when I was very young that I would spend hours seated in the floor leafing through books about airplanes and flight in general. I was always especially drawn to the more exotic aircraft. DaVinci’s ornithopter was a particular favorite. I would study his drawings and try to memorize every line and curve of the craft. I tried to imagine how the pivot points would fit together and how the steering would function. I studied the works of those who came later and added hot air balloons and Zeppelin technology to the basic designs. Later I would Chuck Yeager’s biography about breaking the sound barrier for the first time. And there’s also the interview with a man who built an ultralight flyer that fit in a suitcase and escaped from East Berlin in it.
Today there’s the real possibility of the car in my driveway being replaced by a drone powerful enough to take me almost anywhere. (Nevermind that the Hiller Flying Platform and the Williams Wasp differed a similar technology decades ago) I’ve often commented to my wife that is such a shame that the best angles for certain photos were a hundred feet in air over the river. But the possibility of climbing aboard a quad-copter and shooting from the window is only a few steps away!
No matter what the future of flight holds in technology it will always bring romantic notions going where you want to when you want to. There will also be a crazy idea that with just a little tweaking will inspire the next generation of would be pilots who dream of having their very own wings.
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