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#3: Pittsburg, Texas, Where Flight Began...

All ye who learned that the Wright brothers invented the airplane and first flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, hark! The State of Texas tells quite a different story. In downtown Pittsburg an official Texas marker announces:

The Ezekiel Airship
Baptist minister and inventor Burrell Cannon (1848-1922) led some Pittsburg investors to establish the Ezekiel Airship Company and build a craft described in the Biblical book of Ezekiel. The ship had large fabric-covered wings powered by an engine that turned four sets of paddles....

The marker goes on to tell that the plane "was briefly airborne at this site late in 1902, a year before the Wright brothers first flew." It does not tell what is plainly visible in this drawing, part of the official logo of Pittsburg: the "four sets of paddles" rotated vertically! Such paddlewheels work fine on a river, where a clear demarkation exists between water and not-water. In an airship, after a paddle moves down, generating lift, and backward, generating forward movement, it unfortunately moves up, negating any lift, and forward, nullifying any forward motion. The Ezekiel Airship never got off the ground, despite the claims of the Texas Historical Commission. Rev. Cannon eventually conceded as much, concluding, "God never willed that this airship should fly.

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