Showing posts from July, 2017

Aloft on Wings of Our Own Making

On August 7, 1913, Samuel F. Cody fell out of the sky.  Despite having done so before on several occasions and generally being thought of as indestructible, his luck had run out this time.  Investigations concluded that a bamboo strut in his biplane's wing snapped under pressure due to the sustained heat wave in England at the time.  Immediately, stories circulated about sabotage and murder.  People were convinced that some nefarious plot had played out that summer day.  A mere accident could not have been the end of Cody, adventurer, inventor, and showman.

Now, unless you're interested in the history of aviation, you probably haven't even heard of Samuel F. Cody, much less the controversy at the time of his death.  I wouldn't have known, myself, were it not the subject of a book my father pressed me to read.  This exchange was fortified with stories about Cody's career in Wild West shows (and the inevitable conflict with Buffalo Bill,) the use of aircraft in purs…