Franz Reichelt saw himself as a visionary in the field of aviation technology; however, fate might've viewed him a little differently. On the freezing cold morning of February 4, 1912, Reichelt drove down the Paris streets that led to the Eiffel Tower to meet a crowd of journalists, police, and curious onlookers who were all there to see him, hopefully, make history. Instead, they would bear witness to a devastating tragedy that can only be blamed on stubborn ambition (and maybe a little stupidity).
Just after 8 am, Reichelt leapt from the first stage of the Eiffel Tower, his make-shift parachute giving way to his weight almost instantaneously, sending him plummeting into the frozen ground below. That's right – Reichelt's hubristic invention killed him; he jumped off the Eiffel Tower to his own death. But what makes his endeavor all the more heart wrenching is that, across the Atlantic Ocean, another sky-bound inventor tested a similar apparatus, jumping from the Statue of Liberty, but with far greater success.