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by Bartee Haile

An East Texas preacher applied for a patent on May 31, 1901 for his scripture inspired flying machine.

When not tending his flock in Pittsburg, Rev. Burrell Cannon tinkered away the hours in his cluttered workshop. Consumed by the centuries-old challenge of heavier-than-air flight, the amateur inventor created a craft to conquer the clouds.

The unlikely source of his scientific brainstorm was the Old Testament. “When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them,” read a puzzling passage from Ezekiel that caught his eye. “When the living creatures left the ground, the wheels too left the ground.”


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