"From the beginning of time man has thought of flight --- history records man's feeble attempts through the years --- wings of wax, gliders and now the airplane --- but can he be master of the air until he himself can fly?"
WILL EISNER, from the Black Condor, 1940 (see)
Although I had been known from very early age to jump off one-story porches, garages, and roof tops with a bed sheet made into a parachute or flaring behind my back tied to my wrists and ankles a la Captain Midnight's glider chute on more than one occasion, my very, very first serious attempt to build a functional airplane-like craft that would carry me in flight was based almost exclusively on a glider I saw as a young boy in the 1947 black and white movie Tarzan and the Huntress.
As stated in the opening paragraph, well before the time of my first wayward flight so inspired by the glider as seen in Tarzan and the Huntress as shown above, I was already well on my way toward a fascination regarding the ability to fly, flying machines, giant flying creatures, giant feathers, et al, that seemed to dominate in later life, including the venerable World War II fighting machine, the P-40 Warhawk. My uncle stated many times that he felt the reason for such a fascination, or destiny as he called it, went back to an incident that involved the fly over of a giant airborne object that I witnessed as a young boy. The object, of an unknown nature and an unknown origin, was seen by literally thousands of people along the coast of California barely three months into World War II. See:
THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES: 1942 UFO
As for the glider, the day I came running home after seeing the movie all jacked up and pleading almost non-stop with my uncle to help me build a flying craft capable of carrying me, initially he just sort of played along. After seeing Tarzan and the Huntress himself he was sure for a duplicate glider to even come close to working, even though the movie showed Johnny Sheffield, the actor who played Boy, holding the glider it never showed him using the glider (only Cheetah) it was quite clear relative to Sheffield's weight the wingspan and wing width was wrong --- which would prove true even for me, being the ten year old boy I was and probably half Sheffield's weight. It was only after my uncle saw how serious I was that we began researching Leonardo Da Vinci, eventually moving to building a glider based on a design called the Lilienthal Type IX.
EARLY DA VINCI FLYER CIRCA 1490 AD
(please click image)
On June 4, 1784 Madame Elisabeth Thible, a French opera singer, became the first woman to fly freely in an untethered balloon. The flight lasted 45 minutes with the balloon rising to a height of 8,500 feet, 20 minutes longer than her male counterparts at the time and three times higher. See:
WOMEN IN FLIGHT
LILIENTHAL FLYER CIRCA 1895
TO READ ABOUT THE FLYING FRONTIERSMAN AND
HIS DA VINCI-LIKE FLYING MACHINE CLICK IMAGE.
Fifty or sixty years following the Flying Frontiersman's fictional flight in the Autumn of 1771 using a flying machine based on a design by Leonardo Da Vinci circa 1490 AD and Madame Elisabeth Thible's real life untethered balloon flight of June 4, 1784, Count Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, the inventor of the ultimate in lighter than air machines was born (1838-1917). On July 2, 1900, Zeppelin made the first flight with the LZ 1 in southern Germany. In comparison, the Wright brothers didn't make their first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft until December 17, 1903, two-and-a-half years after Zeppelin's maiden voyage.
ZEPPELINS: HIGH ALTITUDE WARSHIPS
THE HEIGHT CLIMBERS
LILIENTHAL GLIDER TYPE IX (TYPE 9)
LEONARDO DA VINCI: 500 YEARS TO SOON
FLYERS: BEFORE LEONARDO DA VINCI
THE FLYING MACHINE: CHINA 400 A.D.
FLYING MACHINE OF DIEGO MARIN AGUILERA, FLOWN IN 1793
THE WANDERLING'S JOURNEY
TARZAN AND THE HUNTRESS
THE WASHOE ZEPHYR
THE BLACK CONDOR
THE ZEN MAN FLIES
ON THE RAZOR'S
As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.