His name was Richard Pearse and he was from New Zealand. A farmer and inventor, Pearse performed groundbreaking aviation experiments months before the Wright brothers, yet is hardly ever credited.
Why? There are several reasons. Pearse was an extremely modest person and not in the slightest way a publicity seeker. On March 31, 1903, he flew and landed a powered heavier-than-air machine successfully, yet because of where he lived and lack of monetary funds, the chance of industrial development was slim to nil.
Pearse flew 350 meters down a field and landed safely, yet there was no photographic evidence of his achievement. Some claim that when the Wright brothers flew on December 17 of 1903 for the first time, they used much of the engineering and techniques developed by Richard Pearse!