Entries by Cayley

Wright flyer III

The Wright Flyer III was the world’s first practical powered aeroplane, sturdy enough to withstand repeated flights and able to stay aloft for as long as its fuel lasted. Through a remarkable mix of scientific inquiry and hands-on experimentation, the dauntless American brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright cracked the challenge of sustained, controlled, heavier-than-air flight. At Kill Devil Hills. North Carolina, on 17 December 1903, […]

MAcCready Gossamer Albatross

The Grossamer Albatross captured headlines in 1979 when it made the first human-powered fligh across the English Channel. Designed hy American engineer Dr Paul MacCready, the aircraft used pedal-power to drive its large, two-bladed propeller. Appropriately, it was piloted by an amateur cyclist, Bryan Allen, who made the 22 miles and 453 yards crossing in two hours and 49 minutes, at a […]

Boeing 707

The Boeing 707 was the aircraft that ushered in the age of mass air travel. The first US commercial jet, it could carry many more passengers than the largest propeller-driven airliners while halving long-distance journey times. Pan Am boss JuanTrippe said of the introduction of the 707: “In one fell swoop we have shrunken the earth.” Boeing spread the […]

Curtiss CR-3

Cheated for the 1923 Schneider Trophy contest, the Curtiss CR-3 proved itself the fastest seaplane racer of its day. In the early 1920s American Glenn Curtiss had developed sleek landplane racers, powered by his outstanding CD-12 in-line engine. The US Navy converted two of these beauties into floatplanes, which were entered as CR-3s for the Schneider race, held that year in England, […]

Hawker Hurricane

The doughty Hawker Hurricane single-seat fighter is famous for destroying more enemy aircraft than any other Allied fighter during; World War II. Designed by Sydney Camm, it made its maiden flight in November 1935. When the Hurricane entered service in December 1937, it was the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) first monoplane fighter and its first […]

Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a

It is debatable whether the nifty S.E.5a or the Sopwith Camel was the finest British single-seat fighter of World War I. Certainly, the former was easier to fly, killing and maiming far fewer Allied pilots than the unforgiving Camel. The S.E.5 (“S.E.” for “Scout Experimental”) was designed to exploit the potential of the innovatory Hispano-Suiza in-line engine; the S.E.5a, which was […]

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle

The American-built F-15 is regarded as the most formidable air-superiority fighter and interceptor in the world. Designed to replace the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) F-4 Phantom II, it excels in beyond-visual-range air-to-air missions and attack. Highly manoeuvrable and super-fast (up to Mach 2.5), it can deploy from the United States as far as Europe without refueling. The F-15 has advanced aerodynamics and uses […]

Lockheed SR-71A

One of the most amazing aeroplanes ever built, the SR-71A Blackbird originated from the CIA’s request for a replacement for the U-2 spyplane. Like many top-secret projects, it was entrusted to Lockheed’s famous “Skunk Works” team, headed by Kelly Johnson. They came up with the A-12 first, in 1962, and then the slightly larger SR-71, in December 1964. The fastest air-breathing, manned […]

Supermarine Spitfire

This superb fighter, designed by Reginald Mitchell, will always be remembered as the RAF’s outstanding fighter ofWorld War II, and especially for the vital part it played in the Battle of Britain, Powered by the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, the Spitfire combined all the most advanced features of its time; a variable-pitch propeller; all-metal monocoque construction; a retractable undercarriage; and an enclosed cockpit. […]