Wright Flyer - 100 Years On

I guess that about this time, one hundred years ago, history was made at Kittyhawk which a short hop off the ground which took man to the moon in three generations.

With the weather so brilliant today, I celebrated the event with a short flight around the Kent coast, taking for granted almost, how easy it is to fly in a world where aviation is up there with trains and buses.

"It's a hundred years since man first flew", I told my daughter. "Why don't you come with me"?
"I'd rather watch the cartoon channel", she replied.

There's a very old photograph taken almost a hundred years ago, 1913 actually, with my grandmother outside in the garden beyond my windows, standing next to an original pre First World War 'Stringbag' biplane.

At the time, she was almost the same age as my daughter. How times have changed. The garden outside was rather larger and big enough to accomodate an aircraft and it would be another thirty years before a Messerchmidt 109 chased my mother along the road behind the house, with all guns blazing, part of one of Goering's 'Frei Jagd' missions from another war.

Staying with aviation, I was very lucky, as a boy, to have been able to watch the making of the film, 'The Battle of Britain', from this house. That summer, I could lie on my back on the beach watching the dogfights, without the dangers faced by my predecessors in 1941.

I'm suddenly reminded that my father told me that he saw the Hindenburg zeppelin in Madrid when he was a boy and aviation almost cost him his life, when his house in London took a direct hit in the blitz.

So here's to another hundred years of more peaceful aviation than we had in in its first century.


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