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1

Early attemps

Although mankind has mastered flight only in the last hundred years, humans have been attempting to emulate the birds for centuries. Some have even strapped on wings and jumped from great heights, only to leant the hard way that there is a lot more to flying than simply flapping your amis. The first flying machines to be historically documented were kites, which were built in […]

2

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, […]

3

Curtiss JN-4

The Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” was the first aircraft to be massproduced in the United States, and was described as an aerial equivalent of the Model T Ford – cheap, reliable, and ubiquitous. A two-seat primary trainer, it evolved from the Type J, designed for the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Corporation by British engineer B.D.Thomas in 1914. The Curtiss Type J was melded with the Type […]

4

Curtiss Reims Racer

In August 1909 most of the adventurous pioneers then flying aeroplanes gathered at Reims in  France for the world’s first air show. The sole American present was Glenn Curtiss. His Reims Racer, the second aeroplane he had built  was a small,  light pusher biplane built for speed. Its pilot sat over the leading edge of the lower wing, using a wheellopped […]

5

Dornier Do X

When the mighty 12-engine Dornier Do X flying boat made its first test flight on 12 July 1929 it was the largest aeroplane in the world. Designed by Claude Dornier to operate on transatlantic routes, this leviathan was built on the Swiss shore of Lake Constance. . The engines were arranged as six tandem pairs on the high, strut-braced, fabric-covered wing. The two-step […]

6

Felixstowe F.2A

The Felixstowe F.2A was a first-rate flying boat that gave sterling service to Britain’s Royal Naval Air Service on anti-submarine and maritime patrol missions. It derived from the Curtiss H2 “Large America” flying boats supplied to the Royal Navy in early 1917. These American aeroplanes were excellent flyers, but the hull was structurally weak. Squadron Commander John Porte of the Royal Naval Air […]

7

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, […]

8

Blériot XI

French aviation pioneer Louis Bleriot’s Type XI monoplane won its place in the history books by making the first cross- Channel flight from France to England on 25 July 1909. Taking off from Les Baraques near Calais. Blériot flew for just over half an hour to land near Dover Castle in Kent and claim a £1,000 prize offered by newspaper magnate Lord […]

9

Dunne Tailless Aeroplane

In the early years of the 20th century British army officer Lieutenant John William Dunne developed a theoretical interest in aircraft stability, which led him to design the first practical tailless aeroplane. His machines achieved stability through the shaping of their wings. These were sharply swept hack and incorporated “washout” a change, from root to tip. of the angle at which the wings […]

10

Farman III Biplane

The slow but dependable Farma III was the classic pre-World War I biplane,sold around the world. Its creator, Henry (or Henri) Farman, was of English parentage but lived all his life in France. He began his aviation career flying a Voisin hox-kite biplane. After modifying this machine extensively, including fitting ailerons, he used it to make the world’s first true crosscountry flight, […]