The Beginnings of Controlled Flight

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When not busy with cultivating the land on his farm and tilling the crops, Micajah Clark Dyer of Georgia, USA labored in his workshop on his innovative flying apparatus. It is believed successful trial flights were made between 1872-1874 on the mountainside in Choestoe, but detailed dates are not available


Clark and Morena Dyer

In 1874 Clark Dyer filed US Patent 154,654 “Apparatus for Navigating the Air.” Dyer’s apparatus used a combination of wings and paddle wheels for navigation and propulsion. The document was dated February 16th, 1874. It was filed in the patent office on June 10th, 1874, and was approved there on September 1st, 1874.

dyer_airship_patent_drawing_page_1“In operating the machinery the wings receive an upward and downward motion, in the manner of the wings of a bird, the outer ends yielding as they are raised, but opening out and then remaining rigid while being depressed. The wings, if desired, may be set at an angle so as to propel forward as well as to raise the machine in the air. The paddle-wheels are intended to be used for propelling the machine, in the same way that a vessel is propelled in water. An instrument answering to a rudder is attached for guiding the machine. A balloon is to be used for elevating the flying ship, after which it is to be guided and controlled at the pleasure of its occupants.”

Prior to his death, he had invented a perpetual motion machine. It is also a part of family legend that Clark’s son, Mancil Pruitt Dyer, turned down an offer of $30,000 for the purchase of his father’s pending patents on inventions, especially the perpetual motion machine. Maybe Mancil reasoned that if he held out for more, he could receive it. Still another family story holds that Clark’s widow, Morena Ownbey Dyer, sold the flying machine and its design to the Redwine Brothers, manufacturers of Atlanta, who, in turn, sold the ideas to the Wright Brothers of North Carolina in about 1900.


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