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xinhui
06 May 12,, 04:58
A documentary by National Geographic, premieres May 10th at 8PM

The history of aviation will never be the same.

Recently uncovered documents from the 1860s provide strong and shocking evidence that, long before the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, desperate inventors and engineers imagined steam-powered flying machines that would decide the Civil War. In the early 1860s, A Mississippi Doctor with a passion for birds and an obsession with the idea of manned flight makes a scale model of what he hopes will become the first heavier-than-air war-plane. Tethered to a locomotive, his model becomes airborne. But his requests for funding are rejected by the Virginia Legislature and the Engineering Department, leaving him no choice but to turn to the Confederate soldiers themselves to finance the building of a fleet of these flying machines. While he never raises more than a few hundred dollars before the war ends, it is impossible not to wonder what if? Follow EXPLORER as we unravel the story of Civil War aviation and attempt to build and fly a full-scale 19th century airplane of our own.



Confederate Flying Machine Will Rise Again at Auction | Innovationnewsdaily.com (http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/567-civil-war-confederate-flying-machine.html)

tankie
29 May 12,, 12:28
It could also be argued that Davinci had flight firmly in his sights with helicopter design ?

Officer of Engineers
29 May 12,, 15:13
It would have been a non-event. WWI with a much higher density of aircraft did not alter the ground picture one bit. The Confederates were already using balloons for recce.

kato
29 May 12,, 19:51
The Confederates were already using balloons for recce.
The French also used them quite successfully as airborne command posts 70 years earlier - before the Brits caught them on the ground at Abukir, pushing Napoleon to disband the first French Air Force.

LinSym
07 Jun 13,, 14:34
Is it true?

Captain Worley
07 Jun 13,, 15:37
Those crafty Confederates tried their hand at ballistic missilery, supposedly.


As an interesting sidelight, the author Burke Davis, in his book "Our Incredible Civil War," tells a tale of a Confederate attempt to fire a ballistic missile at Washington, D.C., from a point outside Richmond, Va.

According to the author, Confederate President Jefferson Davis witnessed the event at which a 3.7 meter (12 foot) solid-fueled rocket, carrying a 4.5 kilogram (10 pound) gunpowder warhead in a brass case engraved with the letters C.S.A., was ignited and seen to roar rapidly up and out of sight. No one ever saw the rocket land. It's interesting to speculate whether, almost 100 years before Sputnik, a satellite marked with the initials of the Confederate States of America might have been launched into orbit.

A Brief History of Rocketry (http://www.solarviews.com/eng/rocket.htm)