Monday, May 4, 2009

You've heard of the Flying Nun. . . ?

From Eilmer of Malmesbury, a medieval Benedictine monk, we get the "first known serious flight attempt."

Dr. Richard P. Hallion writes:

"The first known serious flight attempt in world history occurred about a thousand years before the Wright brothers, in western England. Then, a young Benedictine monk leapt with a crude pair of cloth wings from a watchtower of a church abbey at the beginning of the 11th century. This monk, known to history as Eilmer of Malmesbury, covered a furlong--a distance of approximately 600 feet--before landing heavily and breaking both legs. Afterwards, he remarked that the cause of his crash was that 'he had forgotten to provide himself with a tail.'"

Puts that trip to Kitty Hawk into a whole new perspective. (He went further on his first flight than the Wrights did on theirs; they started from the ground, though.)

Via Fr. Z

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