November 10, 2022

Auburn University School of Aviation Learns about Pioneer Aviator Micajah Clark Dyer

On August 30, 2022, Captain Paul "Puck" Esposito introduced the history of Micajah Clark Dyer’s invention of an apparatus for navigating the air to his class at Auburn University, School of Aviation, at Auburn, Alabama.

 Capt. Puck is a retired Naval Aviator with 28 years’ service given to his country. He teaches a course at Auburn entitled "Beginning Aviation (AVMG 1010)" and has approximately 150 mostly freshmen students with a few military veterans present. Capt. Puck has added the story of Micajah Clark Dyer to be a permanent part of his future aviation lectures at Auburn.

 The fifteen minute segment of his lecture devoted to Micajah Clark Dyer consists of four PowerPoint slides.

The first slide, titled "Never Stop Learning," contains a picture of Dyer with his full name, date of birth (July 13, 1822) and date of death (January 26, 1891).  The second slide is a picture of the entire state of Georgia showing all of the counties and highlighting Union County in red. The area where Dyer lived and developed his flying machine is in that remote area of the rugged Appalachian Mountains.

Capt. Puck informed the class that Clark was a poor farmer with a large family to feed and had no formal education when he invented and patented his flying machine using only the materials he had available and his natural born mechanical abilities.

Using primitive tools, Dyer confined himself to his work shed, drawing precise plans and constructing the flying machine. He applied for and received US Patent #154,654 on September 1, 1874, for the machine. Eyewitnesses from family, neighbors and friends told of seeing him fly off Rattlesnake Mountain and navigate his crude flying machine over the fields.

Dyer’s flights occurred some 30-years before the Wright Brothers' claim to fame.

The next slide shown to the class was a picture of Figures 1 and 2 of Clark's drawings that illustrate a front and side view of the machine which were included on a signed page of Dyer’s patent.

The last slide shown was a scale model of Dyer’s Apparatus for Navigating the Air built by Jack Allen and is on display in the Union County Historical Society Museum in Blairsville Georgia.

Capt. Puck concluded the presentation with an expression of his admiration for how Dyer never gave up and never stopped learning in spite of his limited education, his limited resources, and his limited support from others.

(This post was submitted by Dr. Sylvan R. Dyer, a great-great-grandson of Micajah Clark Dyer, who is presently attending Capt. Puck’s aviation course at Auburn University. On September 13, 2022, he presented Capt. Puck with an autographed copy of Flying off Rattlesnake Mountain, a creative nonfiction novel of the life and times of Micajah Clark Dyer by author, Sylvia Dyer Turnage, a great-great-granddaughter of Micajah Clark Dyer.)

October 8, 2022

Sixteen Years Since Highway 180-East
Was Named for Micajah Clark Dyer

      Sixteen years ago Georgia Highway 180-East from U.S. Highway 19/129 to the Brasstown Bald Mountain Spur was named the Micajah Clark Dyer Parkway to honor a pioneer aviator and inventor by that name. Members of the Dyer family went to the Capitol to witness Governor Sonny Perdue signing the Resolution naming the road. The youngest family member present for the signing was James Micajah Cooper, a fourth great grandson of Micajah Clark Dyer. He is shown in the photo above with the Governor hoisting him in the air with one hand, astonishing the assembled group.
     James was recently in Union County visiting his grandparents, David and Geraldine Dyer Coker. Now seventeen, he is pictured here with his sister, Esther Cooper. and his four cousins, Ada, Danner, Gideon and Gabriel Jones, all of whom have been born since the road was named to pay tribute to their outstanding ancestor who invented and flew an aircraft, for which he was granted a patent in 1874, twenty-nine years before the Wright brothers made their historic flight at Kill Devil Hill in North Carolina in 1903. James is a junior at Wesleyan School in Atlanta and clearly has come a long way from that day when Governor Perdue gave him a surprise lift!
      The Union County Historical Society Museum in the Old Courthouse on the square in Blairsville has an exhibit of a model of Micajah Clark Dyer’s flying machine that was built by Jack Allen and donated to the museum in 2006.