Sunday, May 24, 2009

Farman's Flying Machine

Well, we start a new week here at OPOD, and I think we should look at flying. The picture above was from the early days of aviation. It was taken in 1909, and shows Farman's flying machine. I love this picture because of the enthusiasm of the two men on the ground. You really get the sense of excitement that must have existed when someone achieved flight in the early days.

That little ultralight airplane I saw yesterday gave the fever to want to fly. In my former career, I had to travel usually once a week on an airplane. That is not what I am talking about. Traveling on a jet is not really flying. It is like sitting in a beer can . . . you do not really get the sense of flight. Maybe I was the only one, but when I was a little boy I would have dreams at night that I had built a flying machine, and would dream that I was flying around the property on something like a big kite. It was the most wonderful dream, and I was always sad when I woke up. That is the type of flight experience that I would want. I understand that ultralights are very dangerous. Many pilots do not have suitable training, and the equipment itself is not always up to standards. It is less regulated, and hence more susceptible to problems from lack of attention to maintenance and other things. I would really like the para-plane set up. There is something that looks like a little go cart, and it has a motor and big fan pointed backwards. The unit is hooked to a parachute. When the fan is turned on, the cart moves forward, the parachute catches the air, and the thing takes off. It is supposed to be safer than ultralights, and allows that full flight experience. Note to self; start working on Mrs. PJM that we need a para-plane and little landing strip.


  1. Now you have done it, PJM!

    If you once fly, you will never be the same man because you will always be called by the goddess of flight and you will always look up when a plane passes over you. There is a poem called High Flight that expresses the joy you will find in the air. It goes like this:

    High Flight
    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
    I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air.
    Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
    I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
    And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
    The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

    Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
    No 412 squadron, RCAF
    Killed 11 December 1941

    Mrs PJM will never have to worry that you will neglect this hobby/addiction. Though I cannot fly anymore, I still hear the call and dream of the days I could and did. Welcome to the club!

  2. Glad you had a good day yesterday.
    The photos are great, and the Case
    tractor superb.
    I wish you luck in obtaining one and the para -plane,
    plus landing strip.

    Look forward to this weeks photos.
    I like early flying machines.

  3. Ah, PJM, I would gladly fly your airline rather than any commercial airline! You would give personalized service and tell my girls about the horse you let into the kitchen. Maybe you would take the plane up to the level of a thunderstorm miles away so we could watch the glorious colors of the lightening from the level of the clouds. You would tell us about the land and the people below. And you certainly wouldn't humiliate them by pulling them aside into a plexiglass booth between security lanes for a 'random security check' along with their boring middle aged mom, while all the bored and irritated people in the lines turned and stared.

    Human flight is a wondrous thing. I've seen the lightening at cloud level courtesy of a friend. I've also been quite honored to know a lady who was one of the first 100 women to get a pilot's license in the USA, and the FIRST woman to get a helicopter license here.

    We are taking our girls to DC and the Air and Space Museum is on the list. I shall show them this photo. I'm a big one on historical context and often show them your pictures. Today's photo is a doozie! Right now, according to the ASM website, the Wright Brothers airplane is not on the ceiling in the entrance hall but on the floor so we can see it up close!

    BTW, thanks for the parade photos yesterday. Loved 'em!

  4. You can imagine the thrill of achieving the fantastical thought of flight.

  5. I absolutely LOVE the gentlemen running and waving their hats.

  6. Hi,
    I'm working on one of the 3 other 1914 Case 40 hp tractors. (also a Case 1917 75 hp Steam tractor). I would like to get in touch with the owner of the tractor in you photo.Can you help?
    Thanks Very,
    Dick Vennerbeck
    Los Gatos, CA
    cell 408-406-0652


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