“If Man Were Meant to Fly…”

For hundreds of generations, men and women have been obsessed with flying like birds, and maybe even better than birds. In fact, many ancient cultures seemed to acknowledge that flight is the most magical thing we could ever hope to do. Just look at their gods. The most revered figures in almost every religion and mythology were able to fly, and aviation myths form part of nearly every religion and culture—from the bird-man icons of the Egyptians to the Old Testament’s much-debated account of the priest Ezekiel’s encounter with a UFO.

“If Man Were Meant to Fly...”

By the Book

Aviab’on is the word we use to describe almost any sport or occupation that takes place in the air. For example, sports like ballooning and gliding fall into the aviation category. Appropri­ately, the word derives from avis,

і the Latin word for "bird.’

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As it turns out, no matter how closely we try to watch birds with the naked eye, it is almost impossible to spot the incredibly subtle secret of their flying. It wasn’t until slow-motion cameras were invented that we really began to understand how birds fly.

Ancient flying tales range from the sublime to the considerably offbeat. For example, in China, storytellers pass down accounts of noblemen who were able to fly with the aid of large hats. These immense chapeaus caught the air and bore their wearers safely away from captivity and danger. These stories could be either the earliest accounts of people using parachutes or an ancient precursor to TVs The Flying Nun!

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