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If a man has a tent made of linen of which the apertures have all been stopped up, and be it twelve bracchia across [over twenty-five feet] and twelve in depth, he will be able to throw himself down from any height without sustaining injury. Leonardo da Vinci
As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me. George Orwell, The Lion & the Unicorn essay
Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Douglas Adams
I love to fly. It’s just you’re alone, peace and quiet, nothing around you but clear blue sky. No-one to hustle you, no-one to tell you where to go or what to do. The only bad part about flying is having to come back down to the fucking world. Streetwise 1984, directed Martin Bell, produced & written Cheryl MaCall; viz Life magazine article Streets of the Lost, Dewayne
Might they also have mastered the power of flight? Ancient Aliens s2e6: Alien Tech, History 2010
The brute force of rockets ... But are manned space flights really a recent phenomenon? Or could our ancient ancestors have witnessed similar events? ibid.
Could early man really have known about rocket technology? ibid.
His [Da Vinci’s] notebooks are full of diagrams and drawings of flying machines. Alan Yentob, Leonardo: The Man Who Wanted to Know Everything, BBC 2011
Leonardo drew this parachute in the 1480s. ibid.
Did he seriously believe that flight was a possibility? Alan Yentob, Leonardo II: Dangerous Liaisons
Apparently, the world’s first controlled glider. ibid.
It’s a first time ever for a Leonardo flying machine successfully taking to the air. A triumph. ibid.
Doc, I don’t want to fly any more – it’s dangerous. Catch 22 1970 starring Alan Arkin & Martin Balsam & Richard Benjamin & Arthur Garfunkel & Jack Gilford & Anthony Perkins & Martin Sheen & Jon Voight & Orson Welles & Buck Henry & Bob Newhart & Paula Prentiss et al, director Mike Nichols, pilots' mess Yossarian
Where the hell’s my parachute? ibid. Yossarian
In a hot air balloon invented by a pair of dabbling amateurs ... it was paper that first inspired the French brothers’ interest in flight. Ronald Top, Industrial Revelations s4e7: Europe: High Fliers, Discovery 2006
A few months after the Montgolfiers’ first flight the Paris Academy launched a hydrogen balloon. ibid.
In 1906 Graf von Zeppelin recorded a twenty-four hour flight. The German government commissioned an entire fleet. ibid.
The Wright Brothers experimented with box-kites and concluded that two sets of wings would increase lift ... Their plane – Flier 1 – looks very like a box-kite, except the Wrights added a system of controls and a lightweight engine. In 1903 the Wright brothers completed the first powered flight in a winged craft. It was a magnificent achievement but it lasted less than a minute. ibid.
On July 25th 1909 [Louis] Bleriot used it to fly across the English Channel. ibid.
It was huge. It was two hundred and forty-five metres long ... This was not a party balloon: the Hindenburg had enough life to carry four one-thousand-and-fifty-horsepower engines. ibid.
The Hindenburg fire brought the age of the airship to a tragic end. ibid.
In 1783 two French brothers called Montgolfier amazed the world with the first human flight. James Burke, Connections s2e3: Getting it Together, BBC 1994
Do you ever wonder what it would be like to fly? Alice in Wonderland 2010 starring Mia Wasikowska & Johnny Depp & Anne Hathaway & Helena Bonham Carter & Crispin Glover & Stephen Fry & Alan Rickman & Matt Lucas et al, director Tim Burton, Alice
Flying is worth risking your life for. Ernst Udet to friend
Birds today are the masters of the skies. But they were not the first creatures to fly. And they are certainly not the biggest. David Attenborough: Flying Monsters, Sky 2011
They were reptiles: pterosaurs; they evolved into a huge variety of species, some the size of aeroplanes. ibid.
Why did these magnificent beasts take to the air in the first place? ibid.
Around 250 million years ago: the planet then was a very different place. ibid.
Draco ... jumps but it does more than just leap; it extends the width of its body by opening flaps of skin along its flanks, and they enable it to glide. ibid.
This is the Jurassic Coast: its rocks are full of fossils of prehistoric creatures. ibid.
Her name was Mary Anning ... She had an almost unbelievable talent for unearthing fossils .. the Princess of Palaeontology. ibid.
The big head and pointed teeth of Darwinopterus makes it clear that this was a predator so it must have been very agile in the air. ibid.
This fossil is 140 million years old: it has the enlarged head of an advanced pterosaur but its tail is different – it has become much shorter. And this short-tailed species wasn’t alone. It was clearly a very successful modification. ibid.
This ability to walk had a profound effect on pterosaur evolution. ibid.
There were several kinds of feathered reptile living about this time. ibid.
The largest creature ever to fly lived 70 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. It stood twenty feet high, so tall it could look a giraffe in the eye: Quetzalcoatlus. ibid.
Then suddenly they vanished. A meteor that crashed into Earth sixty-five million years ago is often blamed for the extinction of the dinosaurs and the pterosaurs, but the truth is that their fate was already sealed. ibid.
It was the birds who rose from the ashes of that meteor. ibid.
Birds today have evolved into thousands of species. ibid.
The dynasty of the pterosaurs lasted over a hundred and fifty million years. ibid.
The ability to move through the air in any direction you wish, to cross continents and oceans, to range over forests and deserts and mountains, all this birds have been able to do for a hundred and fifty million years. But they weren’t the first or indeed the last in the skies. David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies I: First to Fly, Sky 2015
Flight has been the key to the success of some of our planet’s most remarkable inhabitants. ibid.
Insects: their wings are marvels of natural engineering. ibid.
One of the biggest in the world – the Atlas beetle. ibid.
Flight has enabled the insects as a whole to become an astonishing global success. ibid.
First into the skies were the insects ... A new group of animals took to the air: vertebrates. David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies II: Rivals
By and large this is the kingdom of the birds. The first birds flew about a hundred and fifty million years ago. They spread around the globe. David Attenborough’s Conquest of the Skies III
I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things. Antoine de Saint-Exupery
There is an art, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
The wish to fly must have been part of me as a small child. Hanna Reitsch
It felt like a fairytale. Wondrous. Hanna Reitsch
Gliding becomes a mass hobby: half a million Germans participate. Hitler’s Idols: Hanna Reitsch
Flight Captain – the first woman in history to hold the rank. ibid.
This age-old urge of humans to lift themselves from the weight of the ground to ride towards the sun, this urge is just as strong in the German people, maybe even stronger than in others. Hermann Goering, 1936
I decided to fly through the air and live in the sunlight and enjoy life as much as I could. Evel Knievel
The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who ... looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space ... on the infinite highway of the air. Wilbur Wright
Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. George Eliot
I learned to fly a few years ago in England. It’s the only place I’m completely alone – up in the air, detached from everything. Angelina Jolie
Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price. Amelia Earhart
I’ve done some luxury flying, which is brilliant. It has only happened once or twice, but it was nice because flying is the worst part of the holiday. But then again, if the plane crashes, you’re still dead. For that much money I’d want a little capsule that whizzed me off to safety if it was going to crash. Karl Pilkington
Mr Jigger, so you want to learn how to fly? Right well up on the table, arms out, fingers together, knees bent … Monty Python’s Flying Circus s2e3, BBC 1970