On this day 111 years ago, Romanian inventor and aviation pioneer Traian Vuia succeeded in the first flight of a self-propelled heavier-than-air aircraft. He was the first to demonstrate that a flying apparatus could rise into the air by running on wheels upon an ordinary road. His monoplane is credited with a powered hop of 11 meters/36 feet. (1906)
Though unsuccessful in sustained flight, the invention influenced Louis Blériot in building monoplanes. Later, Vuia also designed helicopters. (Click to enlarge photos)
“I have never sought for glory, as I know that glory often makes a man lose himself,” said Vuia. “I do not work for my own personal glory, but for the glory of the human genius. What difference does it make, who did these things?…Really important is that they exist.”
MORE Good News on this Date:
- Lord Stanley pledged a silver cup to the best Canadian hockey team, establishing the Stanley Cup (1893)
- Frank Sinatra made his first recording, a song called ‘Our Love’, with the Frank Mane band (1939)
- 4,400-year-old mummy found in Egyptian Pyramid (1989)
- South Africa voted for political reforms to end apartheid (1992)
- The first-ever Muslim Friday prayer led by a woman (in a mixed-gender New York mosque) marked a break with 1426-year Islamic tradition (2005)
And, on this date in 1965, Alexei Leonov became the first human to float in space, exiting his Soviet capsule, the Voskhod 2, for a 12-min. spacewalk. He almost did not make it back through the door after his suit unexpectedly inflated and stiffened, but boldly let out some of the air in his suit and forcibly squeezed back through the small entrance to safety. Welcomed back as a hero, Leonov completed man’s first spacewalk just ten weeks before the Americans.
A decade later in 1975 Leonov commanded the Soyuz 19 in the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, which marked the end of the Space Race between the two nations, a symbol of détente, a policy which both governments were pursuing at the time.