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Santos-Dumont Demoiselle

Alberto Santos Dumont’s delicate Demoiselle (“damselfly”) monoplane was the true ancestor of all ultralights. A Brazilian-born Parisian dandy, Santos-Dumont was renowned for airship flights before he turned to creating heavier-than-air machines in 1905. His public demonstration flights in his first powered aircraft during October 1906 – the first in Europe caused a sensation. But this was a clumsy box-kite biplane that, at best, managed […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

4

Cody British army aeroplane No. I

The first powered aeroplane to fly in Britain was the brainchild of an expatriate American, S. F. “Cody”. Born in Iowa as Samuel Franklin Coudery, he had renamed himself after his gun-slinging hero, “BuffaloBill” Cody. A flamboyant personality. Cowdery/Cody ran a Wild West show before moving to Britain in 2896 and developing an interest in flight. He was employed by the British […]

5

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, […]

6

North American X-15

The record-breaking North American X- 15 was an aircraft designed specifically to push flight to its extreme limits. From June 1959 to November 1968 it made 199 experimental flights, Flown by a dozen different test pilots, including future Moon-mission leader Neil Armstrong. The aim was to investigate the problems of flying at unprecedented speeds and at altitudes close to or beyond the edge […]

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Voisin Biplane

French brothers Gabriel and Charles Voisin were Europe’s flrst commercial aeroplane manufacturers, making aircraft for customers as early as 1906. By 1909 the typical aircraft emerging from their Paris factory was a large pusher biplane based on the principle of the box-kite, as developed by Australian Lawrence Hargrave. Voisin biplanes had an elevator mounted on the front of the fabric-covered nacelle that housed the […]

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North American XB-70 Valkyrie

When it was rolled out on 11 May 1964, the first prototype of North American’s XB-70 six-engine Mach 3 strategic bomber was the most expensive, most powerful, longest, and heaviest aeroplane ever built. It had six engines housed in a box structure beneath the delta wing, In flight, the wingtips could be lowered up to 65 degrees to contain the airflow under […]

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Gloster-Whittle E.28/39

The Gloster-Whittle E.28/39 was the first jet aeroplane to fly in Britain. II was built to test the viability of the turbojet engine invented by Flight Lieutenant Frank Whittle. Apart from its powerplant the aircrafl, designed by George Carter of Gloster Aircraft, was thoroughly conventional. It was a compact all-metal single-seater with a monococque fuselage, a low wing, and a short, retractable tricycle […]

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Bristol Type 138A

The Type 138A was purpose-built for record-breaking high-altitude flights, which were the object of intensive research and considerable national rivalry in the 1930s. It was commissioned by Britain’s Air Ministry,  which turned to the Bristol Aeroplane Company because its engines Had powered many of the aircraft used in previous attempts on the world altitude record. Designed by Frank S. Barnwell for […]