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Freymann Ornithopter
As a youth living in Russia, Oskar Freymann had observed eagles in flight and determined to build a flying machine based on the actions he saw. After emigrating to America in 1895 he worked in a bicycle shop in Brooklyn. Freymann soon built his flying machine, with four wings operated by the pedaling action of a bicycle, and handle bars that moved a rudder at the rear. In November 1896, Freymann and three other men trucked the machine to an open field in Flatbush. He claimed to have pedaled furiously and flown the ornithopter to an altitude of 14 feet – but this is quite doubtful. In any event the machine was damaged during the trial and never rebuilt. Freymann ultimately planned on building a larger, gasoline-powered ornithopter on a tricycle, but ran out of money and abandoned the project. The model – seen here in 1939 on display at the Ripley's “Believe It or Not!” Odditorium in New York – was built by Freymann in 1895, to help him work out the wing-flapping system. It currently resides at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in East Garden City, New York.
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