2007: Centennial of the Helicopter?
Do any web search on the history of the helicopter or pick up any number of popular books on the subject andyou will usually find Paul Cornu credited with the first flight of the helicopter, supposedly occurring on November 13, 1907. Without a doubt, Cornu’s work marked a significant advance in the design of human-carrying helicopters.
Does 2007 then carry the same meaning as 2003 did for the centennial of the airplane and the Wright brother’s first powered flight?
If the Cornu story is closely analyzed, the answer would appear to be an emphatic NO. There are problems with the veracity of Cornu's claims, but there are also significant questions of historical context that are worth weighing. The following links present the existing evidence of Cornu’s work and a discussion of its place in the story of the helicopter.
Engineering and Historical Analysis by Dr. Gordon Leishman The Claims Could It Fly? A Complete Design? What is Cornu's Legancy?