On 31 March 1903, Canterbury pioneer aviator Richard Pearse made his controversial flight into the history books.
It was 1901 when Richard made his first attempt to fly. He had built and patented a bicycle with crank gears. This attempt was nothing more than just ‘hopping along’, it was later reported.
1903 was the year that he attempted the most flights. On 31 March, Richard managed to get his contraption to fly a several hundred metres before crashing into a hedge. Although very uncontrolled, it was the first time a ‘heavier than air’ machine had taken flight.
Nine months later, with cameras and reporters, the American brothers by the name of Wright entered into the history books by doing the very same thing.
Richard never made any claims to fame himself, actually adding to the confusion by stating that what he considered his first flight happening in 1904.
For a more in depth look at Richard Pearse, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/richard-william-pearse-1877-1953/