Early Flying Machine Predated Wright Brothers' Work

It was ahead of its time!

On October 12, 1901, the Scientific American magazine announced the news of construction of an experimental aircraft built by Burrell Cannon of Pittsburg, Texas. By the next August 1902 (exact date unknown), the aircraft called Ezekiel Airship allegedly did fly 160 feet at a height of about 10 to 12 feet off the ground.

This predated the Wright Brothers’ history-making flight a year later, although authorities say Cannon’s craft was “uncontrolled flight” and might not have happened at all due to lack of verification.

The original craft was destroyed in a storm near Texarkana while being transported to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. A full-sized replica was built in the 1980s and put on display at the famed Pittsburg Hot Links Restaurant until it was moved to Pittsburg's Northeast Texas Rural Heritage Museum, its current location, in 2001.

Cannon was pastor of a Baptist church in Pittsburg who later served in Longview. He was inspired to build the craft based on description of a flying machine in the biblical book of Ezekiel. Cannon’s original plans were destroyed in a fire in 1922.

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