The Flying Monk

Long before Leonardo da Vinci was illustrating his innovative flying machines, a British monk born in the 10th century designed, built, and tested an early machine that most closely resembled a hang glider.

Alas, his first flight put an end to his piloting career as he fell to the ground and broke both of his legs, rendering him permanently lame. Despite a painful ending, this first flight was not a complete failure as he flew about 200 meters before plunging to the earth.

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By Radicalrobbo (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons