First of The Few - Richard Pearse

1877 - 1953

Aviation Pioneer

Richard Pearse was one of the very first men to fly in a power driven aeroplane, lifting into the sky on that sunny afternoon, a little over hundred years ago, when only a few school boys were watching. More than half a century would elapse before the exploits of this retiring man would become known to the world.

Flying Machines

Books about Richard Pearse
If 'out of print' or 'sold out' try or or or
[avoid anything by Alphascript or Betascript who are scam 'print on demand' companies]

"Richard Pearse and His Flying Machines":
An Anthology of Research Notes, Essays and Ideas" by Geoffrey Rodliffe.
(Paperback - 95 pages)
[2007/2008 # ISBN-10: 0473123622 # ISBN-13: 978-0473123628]
See below for the Author (NZ) or Thornburypump (UK)

"Richard Pearse"
The latest 4th edition of Geoff Rodliffe's book reprinted for the centennial of power driven flight in 2003. It chronicles the achievements of this modest genius, including extensive technical details of his aeroplanes, eyewitness accounts of his flights, and an evaluation of his claim to fame as the first man to fly in a power driven aeroplane.
(Softback with 32 pages - 30x20cm)
[2003 # ISBN-10: 0473096862 # ISBN-13: 978-0473096861].
See below for the Author (NZ) or Thornburypump (UK)
"Oh, For the Wings of a Moth"
by Helen Moore & Geoffrey Rodliffe
Written from Geoffrey's notes, archives, and recollections by Helene Moore, this is an historical novel, woven around the life of Richard Pearse. The book transports the reader back through time to experience the frustrations, the achievements and the indiscretions of this extraordinary inventor. The story paints an accurate canvas of the remote farming village in New Zealand where Richard Pearse lived at the beginning of the 20th century. It was successfully turned into the widely acclaimed play: "The Pain and the Passion"
which premiered on in Auckland on 12 May 2000.
(Paperback - 160 pages)
[1999 # ISBN-10: 0473057727 # ISBN-13: 978-0473057725]
See below for the Author (NZ) or Thornburypump (UK)
"Flight Over Waitohi"
by Geoffrey Rodliffe. This second book was written for younger generations to read. It tells the story of Pearse's life, his aeroplanes and his other inventions in a simple, easy to follow manner. It has proved popular with educators and many schools have acquired it as a useful tool for historical and English studies.
(Private printing - 32 illustrated pages)
[1997 # ISBN 047305048X]
See below for the Author (NZ) or Thornburypump (UK)

"Wings Over Waitohi"
by Geoffrey Rodliffe
(2 editions - 116 illustrated pages - background and technical information)
[1993 # ISBN-10: 0473050005 # ISBN-13: 978-0473050009]
See below for the Author (NZ) or Avon Press, Windsor House, Auckland, New Zealand (NZ)

"Richard Pearse - Pioneer Aviator"
by Geoffrey Rodliffe
[1983 # ISBN: 0473096862]
See below for the Author (NZ) or The Museum of Transort and Technology (MOTAT), Auckland (NZ)

The Author

Geoff RodliffeGeoffrey Rodliffe's interest in aviation dated from his school days before World War II. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1935 and in due course qualified as a ground engineer. Leaving the RAF after the war, he maintained his association with aircraft, working for Miles Aircraft at Woodley, Berkshire, then servicing aircraft for an Australia firm in Perth, and later returning to the U.K. to join the De Havilland experimental flight and test departments.
It was during the war years that he first heard of a New Zealander who was reputed to have flown before the Wright Brothers.
Much later in New Zealand, after noticing a strange conglomeration of what looked like an aircraft at Auckland's Museum of Transport and Technology, he started asking questions about Pearse and was no longer able to leave this elusive story incomplete - hence his considerable research culminating in the above books.
Geoff Rodliffe lived in retirement in Auckland, New Zealand, and was an associate member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Sadly after a short illness Geoff passed away in June 2011 aged 96. His obituary can be read here:
New Zealand Herald - Obituaries - Geoff Rodliffe

Additional infomation about Richard Pearse can be found at:

Updated: 12/09/2013 17:59