Flight

July 27, 2003

Who did the press hail as the conqueror of the air?  Alberto Santos-Dumont, who flew around the Eiffel Tower while Jules Verne and H.G. Wells watched and wondered.  He even tied his “personal airship” to the lamp posts outside restaurants in Paris, and worked to revolutionize transportation.  Then the world discovered the Wright Brothers had made an unpublicized flight three years earlier.  Next time on To the Best of Our Knowledge, fantasies of flight on its 100th anniversary. And, the thirteen American women astronauts who never went into orbit.

  1. Josh Ramo on Aerobatic Flying

    Aerobatic pilot Josh Ramo is also a journalist and the author of “No Visible Horizon: Surviving the World’s Most Dangerous Sport.” He talks about the thrills and perils of pushing planes and pilots to the limits of their endurance.

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  2. James Tobin on "The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight"

    Historian James Tobin is the author of “To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight.”  He says that the Wrights started with gliders and were competing with the Smithsonian to build the first motorized flying machine.

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  3. Paul Hoffman on "Alberto Santos-Dumont and the Invention of Flight"

    Paul Hoffman is the author of “Wings of Madness: Alberto Santos-Dumont and the Invention of Flight.”  Hoffman tells Jim Fleming that Santos-Dumont’s craft (which he tethered to a light-post outside Maxim’s while he had dinner) was a motorized hot air balloon.

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  4. Martha Ackmann on "The Mercury 13"

    Martha Ackmann is the author of “The Mercury 13: The Untold Story of Thirteen American Women and the Dream of Space Flight.” Ackman says that in 1960, female astronaut trainees were expected to fly in full make-up, Chanel suits and high heels.

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