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the Wright brothers may have been the first to make a sustained,
controlled flight, they were just two among hundreds of brave men and
women who helped to give the world its wings during the earliest days of
aviation. Below are brief biographies and photos of some of the most important
figures and, where available, resources and links where you can find more
information. In some cases, contributors have supplied expanded
biographies. Those are listed at the right and linked below.
dEsterno, France, in 1864 published the first scientific observations of the effects of the
wind on a wing in his pamphlet Du Vol des Oiseaux.
It called attention to the soaring flight of birds and promoted gliding as
the most likely way for man to learn to fly. The Count also designed and
patented a bird-like glider that may very well have influenced Ader's and
Lilienthal's later designs, but it was never built or tested.
Ferdinand d'Esterno's glider design, published in 1864.