The Dream of Flying

Page 11




  Sebastian Besnier flies with flappers  (1678)  
  The French locksmith Sebastian Besnier's flap-winged flying machine has only been illustrated in a simplified way in the contemporary publications. But the text gives a hint how the wings were constructed. According to a book in Swedish from 1873 it was like this:

The machine consisted of a device, similar to a stretcher, which was fasted on his shoulders. Two shafts were the main parts of the apparatus. They moved in the middle of the flyer's shoulders in threads; each shaft had at its outer ends a cover of taffeta like a wing, in size as half of the shaft. The both front wings were moved by the hands, the rear of the feet in such way that the right front wing and the left rear wing moved simultaneously. The inventor was only able to descend in an oblique way, but not to ascend.

After successfully flying down from smaller hills, he dared to fly from higher. It is also said that he managed to fly over rivers. 




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Lars Henriksson

Updated 2009-05-13