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Aerial Assault at the Siege of Petersburg?

I recently noticed on Google Reader the bizarre, quixotic story of Roderick Davidson, would be airplane inventor in the Civil War era.  His plan was to create flying machines he named Artis Avis, or “bird of art”, to drop 50 pound bombs on the Union lines at Petersburg, driving the Yankees away and snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.  Interestingly, the North was up to the same thing, trying to get a helicopter like bird off the ground.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Andrew Johnson September 7, 2011, 10:41 pm

    Artis Avis’ story predates the WBTS by ten or twenty years. I believe Davidson was more con artist than mad scientist, but that’s just my opinion. I wrote an article ca 2008 for my round table, will try and find a copy for here, if you’re interested

    Best Regards,

    Andrew Johnson

  • bschulte September 8, 2011, 7:49 am


    Thanks for the information and the offer. If you’re willing to allow me to post your article, I’d love to post it here. This story is just one example of the interesting little known stories which deserve to be told and spread to others and why I started this we site in the first place.


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