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  • 1816 Flight Attempt in Paris September 15, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    Prepare to be humiliated. Your name is Guillaume, the years is 1816, and you have convinced yourself that it is possible to fly with wings attached to your puny arms. Yes, this is the age of balloons, but surely man can climb into the sky practically unassisted? Now you are in a great tradition, a tradition of Leonardo and and Eilmar the flying monk. But they had the good sense to do their experiments in aviation in private. You, most foolishly, have pre-announced your marriage with the air, in the centre of Paris, no less. Of course, a crowd appears and, of course, your lose your nerve, as well you might.

    Expectation was excited at Paris on the celebration of the fete of St. Louis, by a man of the name of Guillaume, who proposed to fly from the Champ de Mars. Every preparation was made, and he had his wings attached to his back, but unfortunately his courage failed, or found his wings would not answer; and this modern Icarus hid himself in the crowd, from the reproaches and booings of the populace. The disappointment was, however, in some measure compensated by the ascent of a balloon, with the aeronaut Augustin, and an adventurous young lady, aged 14 [in a second report her age is given as 44!].

    Beach’s one point of confusion in this sad report is how Guillaume meant to fly. Obviously he had wings, but for his ‘courage to fail’ if that is what, indeed, happened, then he had to jump from somewhere. There is, though, nowhere obvious in the Champ de Mars (see picture). Any explanations: drbeachcombing At yahoo DOT com Were you just going to climb a tree or be dragged along by a horse and cart?

    This report appeared in the Evening Mail, 6 Sep 1816, a good year after Waterloo.