Saturday, April 22, 2006

A short history of steam-powered aircraft



'"Well, how does she look?" Bill Besler asked observers at the Oakland Airport one morning in 1933. That he could be heard distinctly, though he spoke from the cockpit of an experimental biplane speeding 200 feet above their heads, spooked the crowd: "Dead stick," the whispers circulated. Besler then throttled up over San Francisco Bay, leaving a wisp of water vapor condensing in the sun--and a throng of squinting witnesses to the first documented flight of a controllable airplane powered by steam...' More

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