To The Best of Our Knowledge
from Wisconsin Public Radio
Who did the press hail as the conqueror of the air?
Alberto Santos-Dumont, who flew around the Eiffel Tower while Jules
Verne and H.G. Wells watched and wondered. He even tied his "personal
airship" to the lamp posts outside restaurants in Paris, and
worked to revolutionize transportation. Then the world discovered
the Wright Brothers had made an unpublicized flight three years
earlier. Next time on To the Best of Our Knowledge, fantasies
of flight on its 100th anniversary. And, the thirteen American women
astronauts who never went into orbit.
Aerobatic pilot Josh Ramo is also a journalist
and the author of "No Visible Horizon: Surviving the World's
Most Dangerous Sport." He tells Steve Paulson about the thrills
and perils of pushing planes and pilots to the limits of their
endurance. Ramo says aerobatic pilots know what they do could
kill them, but think the risk is worth it. Also, historian James
Tobin is the author of "To Conquer the Air: The Wright
Brothers and the Great Race for Flight." He tells Jim Fleming
the Wrights started with gliders and were competing with the Smithsonian
to build the first motorized flying machine.
Paul Hoffman is the author of "Wings
of Madness: Alberto Santos-Dumont and the Invention of Flight."
Hoffman tells Jim Fleming that Santos-Dumont's craft (which he
tethered to a light-post outside Maxim's while he had dinner)
was a motorized hot air balloon. Santos-Dumont was the toast of
Paris, although today he's only a footnote to the history of flight.
Martha Ackman is the author of "The
Mercury 13: The Untold Story of Thirteen American Women and the
Dream of Space Flight." Ackman tells Anne Strainchamps that
in 1960, female astronaut trainees were expected to fly in full
make-up, Chanel suits and high heels. The Mercury 13 were as bold
and fearless as their male counterparts, but American society
was not ready to accept women in the cockpit.
Cassette copies are available
at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 03-07-27-A.
- Martha Ackmann, The Mercury
13: the untold story of thirteen American women and the dream
of space flight (Random House)
- Paul Hoffman, Wings of Madness: Alberto
Santos-Dumont and the Invention of Flight (Theia)
- Joshua Cooper Ramo, No Visible Horizon:
surviving the world's most dangerous sport (Simon & Schuster)
- James Tobin, To Conquer the Air: The Wright
Brothers and the Great Race for Flight (Free Press)
- 1. After Joshua Ramo: Tom Petty,
"Learning to Fly".
- 2. After James Tobin: James Ingram, "I Believe
I Can Fly."
- 3. Break #1: Paul Schwarz, "Blackbird"
(cover of Beatles' song)
- 4. After Paul Hoffman: Frank Sinatra, "Come
Fly With Me."
- 5. Break #2: "Star Dust", Boston Pops
- 6. After Martha Ackman: Sara Evans, "Born
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