Richard Pearse Successfully Completed the First Powered Air Flight, Nearly Nine Months Before the Wright Brothers.
On March 31, 1903, Richard Pearce, a New Zealand born and self taught engineer, successfully completed the world’s first powered flight in a homemade aeroplane on the South Island of New Zealand. He made a powered takeoff and flew 350 meters with poor control, crashing into a hedge at the end of the field. Pearse has no photographic evidence, but there are written eyewitness accounts. On May 11, 1903 Pearse successfully had another powered take off along a dry riverbed. He turned left then right (to fly over the riverbed) . After flying nearly a kilometer, he lost power when his engine overheated, resulting in a crash landing into the riverbed.
Half way around the world Orville and Wilbur Wright made their famous powered flight from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. They flew for 12 seconds thus claiming to be the first men to pilot a heavier-than-air machine that took off on its own power, remained under control, and sustained flight.