Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tether-Plane


Jacon Christian Ellehammer, motorcycle manufacturer and aviation pioneer, was born on this day in 1871 in Bakkeboll, Denmark.

Ellehammer made tests on a craft of his own design, a tractor biplane, on the small private island of Lindholm. Because Lindholm wasn't large enough to accommodate a straight runway, Ellehammer tethered his plane to a pole and tested his plane by lifting off and flying around the pole in a circle, without worrying about steering or control issues. In this strange little "lab," Ellehammer managed to fly for 42 meters on September 12, 1906 (almost 3 years after Orville Wright's first successful flight), but he would not make a sustained, untethered flight until 1908; nonetheless, some Danes make the case that Ellehammer was the first to fly. He died May 20, 1946.


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