We had one in 1961 when I T-boned an errant Fiat 500 with my 650 BSA and flew for several yards in a Superman position before piling headfirst into a steel roadsign – leaving my spine hanging by a thread twixt 3rd and 4th vertebrae.
For the real thing we have to go all the way back to 1909 when pioneers in aviation Frank and Howard Barnwell built and flew their first plane in the shadow of the Wallace Monument at Causewayhead, Stirling.
The Yanks had the Wright Brothers while we had the Barnwell Boys who started the Grampian Engineering Company in Causewayhead in 1906 and the patterns for the wings and fuselage of their first plane were still in the machine shop loft when I joined the company fresh from the farms in 1960.
So the Wallace Monument is not the only memorial in Causwayehead – there is also one for Harold Barnwell even if he did only fly 80yds before nose-diving into a farmer’s field. I might well have beaten him for height and distance flown if it wasn’t for that steel road sign I headbutted on my way home from work at the Grampian that day —