Marvellous Early Flying Machines
Kitty Hawk
In one of the most famous images in aviation history, the Wright brothers -- Orville piloting, Wilbur running alongside -- make the first-ever powered, sustained, controlled flight on 17 December, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In the years just before and after, the science and the art of aviation caught the public imagination across the world, like few technological pursuits have. (National Archives/Getty Images)
Flying man
German aviator Otto Lilienthal (1849 to 1896) demonstrates the first glider he invented. (Rischgitz/Getty Images)
The Marquis' Multiplane
The Marquis d'Ecquevilley in Arles, France displays his multiplane, which was designed after Chinese lanterns. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Horatio Phillips’ "Venetian Blind" multiplane was possibly the first aircraft ever to fly in Britain. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Vuitton Helicopter
The Vuitton-Huber helicopter was a French experimental aircraft. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Look! Up in the Sky!French aviation pioneer Hubert Latham attempted to cross the English Channel in his Antoinette IV monoplane in 1909. He didn’t make it -- but he did become the first person to successfully ditch a powered aircraft in the water. Most machines of the era were ingenious; many were downright beautiful; some were impractical, but in one way or another, all were fantastic. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)