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20 September 2014
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Science & Nature: TV & Radio Follow-up Science & Nature
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You are here: BBC > Science & Nature > TV & Radio Follow-up > Horizon
Dr Bill Brooks preparing to fly a replica of Pilcher's plane.
BBC Two, Thursday 11 December 2003, 9pm
Percy Pilcher's Flying Machine
Coming Up
Horizon investigates the possibilities of time travel. BBC Two, 18th December, 9pm.

Percy Pilcher's Flying Machine - programme summary

Could an unknown Englishman have been the first person ever to fly?

"I think he was just totally fascinated with the idea of flying"

Philip Jarrett, Aviation Historian

To mark the hundredth anniversary of the Wright brothers inaugural flight, Horizon tells the remarkable story of Percy Pilcher.

He could have been the most famous aviator of them all. Four years before the Wright brothers, he had constructed his own aeroplane. But on the day it was due to take off for the very first time, something so terrible happened that he was denied the chance of ever flying it. So Horizon has rebuilt his long lost flying machine to see if Percy Pilcher, the British amateur, could have claimed the glory and been the first person ever to fly.

This film mixes dramatic reconstruction with fabulous contemporary scenes and gripping science. With a specially assembled team of historians, aviation experts and our own test pilot, Horizon painstakingly rebuilds Pilcher's flying machine and puts it to the test. The results will leave you cheering.


 
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