We're sorry but due to licensing restrictions this clip cannot be viewed outside New Zealand.But, most of NZ On Screen's content can be viewed from anywhere: browse and enjoy!
We're sorry, but something went wrong
Please try reloading the page
We're sorry, but your browser is unable to play this video content.
Please upgrade your browser, or install the flash plugin.
We're sorry, but this video is currently unavailable on mobile.
Television – 1975 Documentary
Television – 1975 Documentary
Part one of three from this full length programme.
Part two of three from this full length programme.
Part three of three from this full length programme.
Embodied in heroes from Pearse to PJ, Kiwi ingenuity is a...
Peter Jackson and Costa Botes capture Pearse's famous...
Another dreamer with a lust for lift off
Tim Balme plays an inventor who yearns to fly
Artist Michael Smither attempts to fly
Features nature's great flyers: royal albatross
A fictional attempt at powered flight
More kiwi ingenuity
Pearse features in this aviation history series
Sanderson reads The Magpies
Features a TEAL flying boat
More of actor Martyn Sanderson
More on New Zealand aviation
Research and eye-witness accounts have elicited the fact that Pearse most likely 'flew' before the Wrights. Additionally he built and designed everything himself, whereas the Wrights had the services of experienced bicycle mechanics to help them.
23 Oct 2010 - 11.37pm
Well Pearse himself said that he did not fly and looking at the contraption depicted in this video, it is not surprising. Recent replicas, paying no heed to the principles of aerodynamics, would have been completely unstable.The Wrights not only designed and built their 'flyer', but consulted widely with other researchers and applied the fruits of that research to their own machine. They built a wind tunnel, established not only the best form of aerofoil, by repeated tests but realised that an efficient propeller must itself be based upon an aerofoil. Their successful 1903 flight at Kittyhawk followed years of thought and experiment, they left nothing to chance. The Wright's claim to the first powered flight srands.
7 Mar 2013 - 11.59am
Richard Pearse may have denied that he flew, but eye witness accounts say otherwise. He just did not "fly" to his own expectations, and he did not have the publicity that the Wrights did. But fly he did, without the aid of engineers or financial investors. Also, there were other at the same time who were getting air under their wings, but who did not have the same publicity agents and therefore lack acknowledgement. Famed aircraft authority Jane's All the World's Aircraft says there's convincing evidence that Gustav Whitehead, not the Wright brothers, was the first to achieve powered controlled flight, but critics may be unmoved. In the foreword of the 100th edition of Jane's All the World's Aircraft, Jane's editor Paul Jackson cites the work of Australian aviation historian John Brown. Brown's evidence includes a 1901 article describing Whitehead's sustained flight in a controlled powered aircraft flown from a field in Connecticut, ahead of the Wrights' 1903 flight. Unfortunately, although one picture of a Whitehead flight was reportedly taken, observers who require any direct visual evidence will be disappointed. And Whitehead is not without his detractors.While other pioneers may have preceded the Wright brothers in briefly achieving controlled flight in a powered airplane, a lack of clear convincing evidence and successive development of an airframe have likely stunted their notoriety. And that may be the case for Whitehead.The first written account cited by Brown that is descriptive of Whitehead's pre-Wright flights was published by the Bridgeport Herald in August of 1901. That story states that an unnamed representative of the Herald witnessed the flight. According to Brown, the Herald published the story on page five of a subsequent issue and did not include a photograph. Jackson writes that existence of a photograph is supported by written accounts that describe it as blurry and identify it as part of an exhibition that showcased aviation in 1904 and 1906. Whereabouts of the original photograph, or any copies, are unknown. Jackson adds that Brown's work found multiple "affidavits and statements" that exist "on tape and film or video" of individuals who "bear witness to the many powered flights made by Whitehead between August 1901 and January 1902." There are no taped, filmed or video records available to provide visual confirmation of Whitehead's flights. The Wrighs may retain the record "First" In Flight in spite of the fact that they may not have been the "first". They just had good publicity.
19 Mar 2013 - 04.27am
Are there any old and real picture of his aircraft?
Michael K. Wyrsch
26 Mar 2013 - 01.03am
My great-grandad was one of the eyewitnesses that witnessed Richard Pearse's flight. His farm was right across from Richard Pearse's farm.
14 Oct 2014 - 07.25pm
Please keep your comments relevant to this title. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.
Which size would you like?
Copy this code and paste it into your website.
<!-- Start NZ On Screen - Richard Pearse - Badge -->
<a href="https://www.nzonscreen.com/title/richard-pearse-1975" > <img src="https://www.nzonscreen.com/content/badges/richard-pearse-1975.horizontal-badge.jpg" width="330" height="90" alt="Richard Pearse" /></a>
Browse Television, Film, Short film, Music video, Documentary, Drama and more categories.
Classic and curious collections curated by NZ On Screen and special guests.
Biographies, ScreenTalk interviews and details of cast and crew from the NZ screen industry.
Video interviews with cast and crew.
As the @NZComedyFest begins to kick off, whet your appetite with this doco about some of NZ's finest comedians https://t.co/n1pxssAyke
The noisy library of New Zealand music
This website has been made with funding from
Don't have a login?
Sign up here