The conquesl of the air was, without doubt, man’s greatest achievement. For centuries havier-than-air-flight
had been deemed impossible, yet now problems were confronted and overcome: within a comparatively brief time span the aeroplane became the marvel of the
new 20th century.Private individuals and governments invested fortunes in an assortment of occasionally bizarre “flying machines”, often to discover that their investment had been wasted. But although the quest for powered flight attracted its fair share of charlatans and hare-brained inventors, there were also devoted pioneers, struggling on small incomes, yet sustained by heartfelt convictions and enthusiasm. Once practical aeroplanes began to appear in significant numbers, early flying meetings and competitions generated tremendous excitement, attracting spectators in their thousands. Pilots became heroes overnight, and any aviator making an emergency descent in a remote, apparently deserted field soon found himself surrounded by a swarm of curious, goggle-eyed locals.

Farman III Biplane

The slow but dependable Farma III was the classic pre-World…

Blériot XI

French aviation pioneer Louis Bleriot's Type XI monoplane won…

Wright flyer III

The Wright Flyer III was the world's first practical powered…

Avro 504

Safe and easy to handle, the modest but much-loved Avro 504…

Maxim Multiplane

In the 1890s English-domiciled American millionaire Hiram Maxim…

Cayley Glider

The firs theavier-than-air fliying machines capable of carrying…