How our ancestors conquered the air

Since time immemorial, people have dreamed of flying like birds. Any schoolchild knows the legend of Icarus, who flew away from the island of Crete from the evil ruler Minos. However, in our country there were romantics who tried to overcome gravity.

For example, in the era of Ivan the Terrible, a certain servant Nikitka climbed a high bell tower in the Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda. On his hands were wings of his own production. Nikita jumped down, flapped his wings and successfully flew over the fortress wall. But the successful experiment of a self-taught aviator of the 16th century was not appreciated.

The slave was accused of the fact that this impudent act did not go without the help of evil spirits. The verdict was harsh: "cut off the head of the inventor, throw the body of a cursed stinking dog to the pigs to eat." And the wings themselves were burned in front of a large crowd.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the peasant Emelyan Ivanov set about building an aircraft equipped with mica wings, which were to be inflated with air from blacksmith's bellows. True, Emelyan had no money. The boyar Ivan Borisovich Troekurov helped him out, lending to the folk craftsman 5 rubles, the amount at that time was not small.

Having finished work on the outlandish car, Emelyan Ivanov went out to the square and sounded the alarm. To the fled onlookers, he said that now the launch of the aircraft would take place in front of their eyes. But, as soon as Emelyan began to pump up his wings, the mica burst. The unlucky inventor was beaten with batogs, and a debt of 5 rubles was collected from his relatives.

In 1729, a blacksmith from the village of Klyuchi, near the town of Ryazhsk, made wings from wire and feathers. Eyewitnesses claimed that the blacksmith managed to soar above the ground, but one day he landed on the roof of a local church. An angry priest ordered the wings to be burned, and anathematized the flyer.

In 1731, the clerk Kryakutnaya from Ryazan made a large balloon, which he began to inflate with "foul and stinking smoke." The audience watched with delight how Kryakutnoy was able to rise on this ball "above the birch." But, the official authorities reacted to such an undertaking less enthusiastically: the clerk Kryakutnaya was forever expelled from the city.

It is interesting to note that by inflating the balloon with "stinking smoke" the Russian nugget was far ahead of the Mongolfe brothers, who are considered the inventors of the balloon. They managed to take off only on June 5, 1783. Half a century later than the desperate resident of Ryazan.