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The World's Forum for Aerospace Leadership

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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.

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    The History of Flight from Around the World
    pre-1700s


    BC


    • 3500 BC - King Etena of Babylonia is featured on a coin, flying on an eagle's back
    • 2500 BC - Auca, an Inca Founder, was "winged and could fly"
    • 1000 BC - The Chinese invent kites which carried men to scout troops


    1000


    • 1010 - Oliver of Malmesbury, a Benedictine monk, was the first man to fly for some distance with the aid of wings. He jumped from Malmesbury Abbey and alighted 125 paces before falling and breaking his legs


    1100


    • 1162 - A man in Constantinople, Turkey, fashioned sail-like wings from a fabric gathered into pleats and folds. He plummeted from the top of a tower and died.


    1300


    • 1300s - Marco Polo witnessed kites carrying humans in China


    1400


    • 1488-1514 - In Italy, Leonardo de Vinci made the first design of flying machines, using bird wings for models


    1500


    • 1536 - Denis Bolor in France tried to fly using wings flapped by a spring mechanism. He fell to his death when the spring broke


    1600


    • 1600s - Hezarfen Celebi leapt from a tower at Galata and flew some distance before landing safely in the market place of Scutari.
    • 1600s - In the 17th Century, the Royal Society of Great Britain passed out papers dealing with aeronautics to its members. After reading and discussing the papers, members were encouraged to produce new information. Several papers of note were produced by men like Robert Hooke and Sir Christopher Wrenn.
    • 1678 - A French locksmith named Besnier tried to fly with wings modeled after the webbed feet of a duck. He was lucky and survived the attempt.

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