TRANSPORT: Everything Went Black

In Madrid in 1912 the French proprietor of a motorcycle shop owned a French biplane which he crashed during an exhibition. Chagrined, he dumped the wreckage in his back yard. To chubby, 17-year-old Juan de la Cierva and two cronies, this was tempting bait. They offered to rebuild the plane if the Frenchman would test-fly it. Laughingly he agreed. All that was salvageable were the motor and wheels. All the resources the three boys had were $60 and a knowledge of arithmetic. Nonetheless, to Madrid's amazement, their jerry-built contraption flew. It was...

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