Written by Florencio de los Santos
One of the brightest chapters, but at the same time most ignored by the community is the episode that occurred at the New York Air Show, in Nassau Boulevar, Long Island in 1911, where the Dominican Zoilo Hermógenes García Peña, from La Vega, caused the greatest admiration and respect for his plane that he had imported from the Dominican Republic for that occasion.
The Poliplano, as it was called the aerial vehicle designed and built by the engineer Hermogenes, caused a strong impact on many critics, which for some was the first functional real aircraft, since it had a seat where the pilot sat in front of the command controls, while in that of the brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright the pilot was lying down; the Dominican had wheels and guide driving, while the Wright had a kind of sliders and levers.
Its design was so advanced that its two wings (one completely horizontal and the other flat) was with the idea that if the engine failed in mid-flight it would not collapse, but could glide until landing softly (for this reason its creator identified it ) as a Polyplane); The Quisqueyan apparatus had a propeller attached to the engine crankshaft, which gave it more efficiency; while the North American machine had two propellers powered by chains rotated from an engine.
That was the design that World War I aircraft used to popularize as they soared through the skies and not that of the Wrights. Many offered to buy the innovative device from the Caribbean inventor, in order to obtain the design rights as well, but history tells that it was not for sale for nationalism.
In a communication sent to the Listin Diario newspaper on June 10, 1911, the American pilot Charles D. Henob wrote admiringly: “It is remarkable that a man who never saw a plane in the Dominican Republic could invent a device with his own idea and special mathematical calculations ”. García Peñas was accepted as a member of the prestigious Saint Louis Aviators Club in recognition of his revolutionary invention that forever changed aviation.
However, despite the splendor of events, El Poliplano ended up completely destroyed in the hangar where it is kept in New York, due to an unexplained fire that was always suspicious. For an official logical reason was never given. There was only one photograph from a newspaper that had made a publication of the device.
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