De Groof's fatal flight, 1874

De Groof's fatal flight, 1874

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: De Groof's fatal flight. 19th-century illustration of the death of Belgian shoemaker Vincent De Groof (1831-1874) on 29 July 1874. His flying machine (see V320/0075) was a cross between a glider and a parachute, and was released from the balloon 'Czar' (top left). Too high a descent speed, due to insufficient wing area, caused the wings to crumple upwards. The machine plummeted to the ground, killing De Groof instantly. The balloon pilot, Joseph Simmons, died in a balloon crash in 1888. Artwork from 'Aerostation - Aviation' (1911) by French civil engineer Max de Nansouty (1854-1913), part of the 'Les merveilles de la science' series of 1867-1891 by Louis Figuier.

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