10 Uplifting Inventions for Personal Flight

Clem Sohn - 1935
© Underwood & Underwood/Corbis

A group of daredevils, including Clem Sohn (above) experimented in the 1930s with wingsuits made of combinations of canvas, whalebone and silk. Sohn would take a plane up to 10,000 feet and then jump out, using the wings under his arms and between his legs to glide for around 75 seconds. Usually he landed with a parachute, but in 1937 it didn't open and Sohn plummeted to his death. Unfortunately, this was quite common and around 70 "birdmen" died between 1930 and 1960.