Pearse was a great inventor in his own (w)right, and he created that looked very much like what we consider a plane today - without a huge staff of engineers or the benefit had by (as he put it) 'men who had factories at their back'. He was a true pioneer innovator, testing the limits of the known. And as he himself said, 'It is impossible to assign any invention to one man, as all inventions are the products of many minds.'
Pearse went on to create a number of interesting inventions, including the aileron, popularly known as the plane's 'flaps'. However he never patented it so didn't really benefit from his idea. He invented, during the Second World War, a plane which could take off and land vertically - presaging the Harrier Jump Jet and similar planes. He also created some ingenuous farm equipment, including an automatic potato planter with mechanical arms.