Most people have never heard of Charles Furnas, but he's incredibly important to the history of aviation. He didn't, as far as we know, invent anything related to flight. Nor did he fly the first plane. As a mechanic for the Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company, he had the opportunity to be the first airplane passenger. This is important because the Wright company couldn't get military contracts for their planes unless they could successfully fly with a passenger. Appropriately, Furnas died on October 16, 1941. This was the day Tōjō Hideki became Prime Minister of Japan and it was Tōjō who supported the aerial assault on Pearl Harbor. So far, Chinese helicopter maker Chen Zhao Rong hasn't added a passenger seat, which is why Ash78 believes the inventor is so far off from the American inventors.
And now we all know the difference between Wright and Rong. Touching story.
Photo Credit: First To Fly