Two wrongs don't make a right -- but two Wrights do make an airplane, which, according to our expert, included free peanuts and ginger ale.
Clare Sera keeps both feet on the ground while questioning Early Flight expert Danno Sullivan from the Danno Sullivan Institute of Early Flight Questions and Answers for Podcasts.
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Hi today, we're going to be talking about mans early flight, and that is your area of
Welcome to the podcast of the evening.
Danno: Claire, I am on the wings of love when it comes to talking about earlier.
Clare: So Danno, first of all, I'm sure that we would all like to find out what first brought you to this fascination.
Danno: Many folks are drawn to the world of flight due to an experience with a paper airplane let's say, or an exciting flight with them. Friendly family pilot. For me, it was just the opposite., I was earth based by necessity.
I was born with what doctors call a heavy bottom,
For the first 20 years of my life, I was not even able to stand up.
Clare: So your doctor pioneered the, study of specific gravity around your bottom.
Danno: Yes. In some ways, my bottom was so heavy that it was like a planet, which planet you might ask.
I think the reason the American. Get credited for the invention of flight is that the gravity in north America is so much more surmountable gravity in Europe. First of all, it's metric. Second of all, You've heard of like the Lamar valley France.
Danno: They had business trying to do flight experiments. They were easily a hundred feet closer to the center of the earth at that.
Clare: my goodness. They were being sucked down as they were trying to springboard off.
. So here we are now on American soil, much less gravita us than our European cousins. and you have the first folks who were attempting to get that machinery up and above the ground. What, what did they use? What did they try?
Danno: the very first attempt Claire was just someone falling over.
Clare: Right, right.
Danno: after you fall over several times, every single time, it hurts every single time you get a scrape. And after a while you think to yourself, if I could avoid. That pain, I would do whatever it takes. in the case of young Wilbur Wright of Dayton, Ohio bicycle works, he did something about it. he got himself two pillows, one for each leg.
for the longest time that was considered successful flight. Just walking around with pillows, strapped to your legs.
Clare: Isn't that interesting. And were those pillows made of feathers?
Danno: Well, yes, they were.
Imagine the scenario clear young Wilbur, right? All of a sudden with legs lighter than air, the rest of his
body. Still. Exactly the same. his lower upended just took flight before the rest of his.
Clare: So was he being sort of dragged around by the feet with his.
Danno: exactly what happened. And after awhile we started thinking, dang. This hurts. Put a pillow on my forehead
Clare: I'm telling you, imagine if there had been tick-tock back then Danno.
Danno: Yeah. So
after one bang up after another eventually Wilburn, his brother Orville had no choice, but to true flight as we know it today.
Clare: Orville Orville
Wright who also invented popcorn if I'm
recalling. correctly which is a flight driven vegetable.
Danno: It has nothing to do with airplanes, popcorn, actually presages rocket flight
Clare: Oh, my goodness,
Danno: rocket flight is to airplane flight. What popcorn is to corn.
Clare: I don't know about flight, but that's taking me to heaven. I want to go to JPL jet popping Labs labs.
so, uh, not to make this too personal, you tried to recreate. the first, plane, the
Danno: the Wright brothers flyer, it was called the kitty Hawk seven, which is strange for their first model. I did try to recreate it with a couple of special accommodations for my situation with heavy bottom. We tried to make sure that everything was in place for successful flight. of all, we did not do it in a valley in France second.
Danno: we made sure that there was it's called a saddle, which is where the pilot sits. , this was a low slung saddle . So that upon us a safe landing, be able to slow down the skidding plane with posterior , third, we made sure that we had, a solid tested wing structure, which we got from the modern Cessna plane also a, uh, style engine with a big prop that runs off jet. So we combined all of these things, including a first-class seating section and uh, in cabin
If you're going to build a recreation like this, why not go for
Danno: So we did try to recreate the flight from a top of the knoll at kitty Hawk, where the Wright brothers had their successful
Clare: we all know that the Wright brothers invented flight at kitty Hawk. And you ever thought about kitty Hawk? You know, like, how propitious a name? That was what if it had been called kitty? Kitty octopus
Danno: they would have invented
Clare: under C flight?
Danno: What a lot of folks don't know is that kitty Hawk was Orville and Wilbur daughter.
Clare: I lot of people didn't know that,
they had a daughter together. man. That's
Danno: were two brothers that had joined together to create an air. And then offspring. A lot of people don't know that young Kittyhawk was one of the original test pilots because she was so lightweight. She was about to slip.
Clare: Oh, She did not have a heavy
Danno: She did not have a heavy
anything she could just get dashed about and a mild breeze all on
Clare: Was she born with the early osteoporosis,
perhaps a degenerative.
Danno: to degenerate.
Clare: Well that's because she was the offspring of two
Danno: Yeah. So, you know, forever.
Every plus there's a
Clare: So we're back to your early flight, your first flight in this Cessna, Boeing
Danno: kitty Hawk eight, we
Yeah. After the original plan, the kitty Hawk seven, we really should have checked the.
Danno: I don't know what you know about flying a plane Clare, but basically it is a vehicle that rides the wind
Danno: If it's too light, the plane can't fly.
But if it's too heavy, plane will
Danno: want what pilots call perfect
Danno: is just air that's.
Clare: I again, did not realize that that, all early flights had to wait for this kind of, atmosphere. I mean, today, I'm suppose I'm, I'm guessing they don't have to because of the jet fuel and the rockets
Danno: Yeah, modern plans are so much more controllable. A lot of them actually. Are encased in a large glass dome where they create their own atmosphere and their own gravity. So they're in a state of constant flux between being sucked to the earth and being risen the perfect air within it almost the whole concept of travel.
Needless, everything you have is right there. got your perfect era. Quality breathing quality flight. You've got gravity for keeping things safely on the ground or the floor. You've got cabin service for all the peanuts and ginger ale. You might need.
Clare: Dan, I did not know that you were part of the, Um,
perfect bubble movement. it's a bit controversial and people that are believing that we should all be, living in little communities in perfect bubbles, bouncing around the atmosphere. but there's, there's, there's a lot of problems with that.
Danno: All we're trying to do say let's make sure that everybody has a safe, equitable way to travel.
Clare: but Danno, that's not what happened when you attempted to create one of these bubble communities and. your hoped for plan, as you put in your book was that you would try one year and you created a bubble that could in perfect air be sustained for some reason. Um, everybody was on a Boeing 7 47 within that
Danno: Yeah. I was able to charge for tickets. That's the only reason they're
Clare: So you're going to have your community live on a Boeing 7 47 for a year in a plastic bubble. How long
Danno: Uh, it only lasted for one month out of the intended
Clare: still a month? You didn't. Did you have a laboratory
Danno: had a laboratory in first-class and passenger class. even had a smoking and non-smoking sections like good old days on the airplanes.
Clare: So you had smoking in the
Danno: Anybody who disapproved of the smoking can just step outside the plane, the plane was not flying the plane was on the ground within the bubble the entire time.
Clare: ground. You mean the
bottom of the bubble
because you did launch this bubble off of.
Danno: that was at day 30, one of our one month
Clare: sorry, I didn't realize this. You lived for a month at the side of a cliff, in a plane, in a bubble.
I'm sorry to be crude but you know, we're all human beings. How did you flush out those lavatories?
Danno: Oh, it just squirts out the bottom. Just like a person.
Why do you think they call it a runway?
If I may say, I feel like the stroke of marketing genius was that these were that had a 30 day window for refunds. And we were actually out there on the tarmac,
Danno: get off the plane, but they couldn't ask for a refund at the end.
Clare: you know, Danno, if you don't mind me saying that it's just a little bit of the motivation. There was not so much, innovative world living innovative flight, but how to get out of your refund policy.
Danno: I guess when you put it like that, I, I didn't intend it to be that clear, but I think that's what it became.
Why did you roll it off the cliff? Nobody. And you don't even really go into it in your book. Everybody was safe. They could have eased. Sure. They would have been angry.
Clare: You could have kept the money, but you, You started rolling that bubble towards the edge of that cliff
Danno: Clara, someone dedicated to the early days of flight. So many of the theories that I espoused that I developed have been snickered at. And I have spent my whole life being snickered atPeople don't understand thing that people taunted me about the most was my gravity theory that the Lamar valley of France was closer to the center of the earth therefore had stronger gravity.
So I thought by scooting the bubble with the airplane with. Over toward that cliff and tumbling off with a gravity meter running to test the actual strength of the gravity as we went, would finally be validated. would finally not just be the boy with the heavy bottom. would be a scientist, a doctor of flight, someone who really had a point to make and who made it.
Clare: so just due to paint the picture day 31. The natives are restless within the plane there. They're ready to get out of this so-called experiment.
Danno: yeah, They'd had nothing but salted pretzels pretty much
Clare: we got a lot of dry mouths and you are scooting that bubble towards the edge of this. I mean, this cliff is 300 feet and with the sheer sea below,
Danno: yeah. The sheer see is beautiful at
that time of year, too.
Clare: What happened?
Danno: At first we had plummeted towards the earth surface beneath.
Clare: What I've heard scientifically there was a gust of perfect air that came in at that very moment.
Danno: It was a beautiful thing to see Claire previous to that, all we've been thinking about was latrine, sloshing, pretzel bread. Screams. then all of a second, it was like, God himself reached out with a ghostly hand and lifted the plane, lifted that bubble into the skies. And we were at flight.
Clare: I mean, I it's what saved you from being prosecuted as a murderer of over 40 people?
Danno: Those people?
had all bought tickets clear. They were there. They had signed a waiver and they had chosen to be there. So, could, I've been prosecuted as a of mass
but that's not how the story ended amazingly.
Danno: It was the most wonderful come up. And could imagine we were the air and at flight, we circled, we flew, we soared, we sang, was great. Joyousness amongst the crew, myself and the passengers Claire, where do you think we landed?
Clare: this, I don't know because you've never actually been forthcoming in case any of these details could incriminate you.
Danno: The Lamar
Clare: Oh, my gosh, Danno
Danno: and came down so fast and so hard. uh, validated my theory because of the fact that we descended
gravity there was super
Clare: And I believe the plane is still stuck there to this day.
it's stuck to the earth as if by an electromagnet,
Clare: not so much that you, sort of emulated the flight of the Wright brothers, but more that you reinforced the notion of different gravity's
Danno: could say that Claire, I think the biggest way that I emulated the Wright brothers was simply by being right.