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1

Mignet HM.14 Flying Flea

Frenchman Henri Mignet wanted everyone to have the chance to own and fly an aeroplane. Mignet claimed that anyone who could assemble a packing case could build his diminutive HM.14 Pou du Ciel – affectionately known as the “Sky Louse” or “Flying Flea” – and teach himself to fly it. For a time Flea fever raged, as hundreds of amateurs started building […]

3

Cayley Glider

The firs theavier-than-air fliying machines capable of carrying a man were the work of Yorkshire landowner Sir Georgc Cayley.  An amateur inventor of genius, Cayley devoted much of his life to investigating flight and testing model and full-size gliders. Since these experiments were carried out in the privacy of his estate at Brompton Hall, details of his achievements are hard to […]

4

Chanute biplane glider

In the summer of 1896 French-born  American Octave Chanute, a wealthy railroad engineer who had published a history of flight experiments, camped out on the windswept shore of Lake Michigan, determined to turn his theory into practice. In his mid-60s, Chanute was too old to fly himself, but he was accompanied by young engineer August Moore Herring, who served as his assistant […]

5

Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant

One of the largest aircrafl to fly in World War II, the aptly-named Gigant (“Giant”) was a lumbering beast of ungainly appearance, but it gave the German Army the heavy-lift transport it desperately needed. The aircraft was derived from an assault glider, the massive Me 321, designed by Messerschmitt for the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. There were so many […]

6

Pilcher Triplane

Fllight pioneer Percy Pilcher is one of Britain’s unsung heroes. But for a fatal accident it is possible that he, rather than the celebrated Wright brothers, might have solved the riddle of powered, controlled, heavier-than -air flight. Inspired by Lilienthal, Pilcher built four gliders in 1895, the last of which, the Hawk, was the most successful. In 1897, working with engineer Walter Wilson, he […]

7

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 […]

8

Rockwell International space Shuttle

Punching skywards, the Space Shuttle is launched vertically like a rocket; it operates as a spacecraft, yet returns to Earth as a glider. The first orbital spacecraft designed for partial reuse, it comprises t lie Orbital Vehicle and two Solid Rocket Boosters. Woth reusable, and an expendable External Tank. Only the orbiler, resembling an aircraft with double delta wings, goes into orbit; its tank and […]

9

Short Empire Flying Boat

Air travel was never more romantic than in the era of the large flying boats. The magnificent Short S.23s that travelled Britain’s imperial routes in Ihe late 1930s offered their privileged passengers an unforgettable experience. The principal mission, however, of the “Empire” flying boats was the transportation of mail. Il was in order to fulfil the terms of its Empire Air Mail Scheme […]

10

Northrop YB-49

Throughout his career, imaginative American designer Jack Northrop believed that the ultimate in aircraft development would be a “flying wing”, with neither fuselage nor tail. DuringWorldWar II his company developed the massive XB-35 all-wing piston-engined bomber, but by the lime it flew in 1946 the jet era had arrived. Northrop then built two jet – powered versions of the bomber, designated YB- […]