Monday, April 16
Inventing… the ultimate sacrifice
The life of an inventor is not an easy one. First you have to come up with a good idea that solves a problem in a way that no one has thought of before, and then you need to design and engineer your idea to take it from theory to reality.
Such is the case with Henry Smolinski, a sad but fascinating story of an inventor who died at the hand of his invention.
Henry Smolinski was a Northrop-trained engineer who left his job to start Advanced Vehicle Engineers, a company focused on bringing a flying car to market. In 1973, the company built its first two prototypes made by fusing the rear end of a Cessna Skymaster airplane with a Ford Pinto. The tail section was designed to be attached and detached from the car.
Smolinski was set to begin production for the retail market the next year, but on Sept. 11, 1973, he went on a test flight with pilot Harold Blake and was killed, along with Blake, when a wing strut detached from the car. The National Transportation Safety Board ruled that bad welds were responsible for the crash.