On this day in 1906, Romanian inventor Traian Vuia undertook the first well-documented flight of a heavier-than-air craft without any assistance in takeoff. He was also associated with the French Resistance, and between 1918 and 1921 built two experimental helicopters, contributing to the development of vertical take-off (at a time when even “regular” takeoff was difficult to pull off).
It’s a shame that so many people are unaware that numerous individuals around the world contributed to aviation. The Wright Brothers made significant and praise-worthy inroads, but like most innovators, they were hardly unilateral in their contributions to the field. Human invention is not only a product of remarkable minds, but of the human capacity to pool together our knowledge in a synergy of ingeniousness.
Read more about Vuia and his flying machine – including photos! – here.