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1

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 […]

2

Boeing 767

The workhorse of the transatlantic route, the Boeing 767 also claims the curious merit of being the world’s most slender widebody. It made its mark on commercial aviation by pioneering the now-routine Extended Twin Operating Procedures (ETOPS). ETOPS is an International Civil Aviation ruling permitting twin-engined commercial aeroplanes to fly routes that, at some points, are more than 60 minutes flying time from an […]

3

Hughes H-4 Hercules

In 1942 American millionaire and aviation enthusiast, Howard Hughes, and ship-builder, Henry Kaiser, were jointIy awarded $18 million of US government funding to build a “flying liberty ship”. This was to be a huge flying boat capable of ferrying American soldiers and military equipment across the Atlantic, free from the threat of German U-boats. Kaiser withdrew from the project when it […]

4

Bristol Brabazon

The Bristol Brabazon airliner was a gian of an aircraft larger even than a Boeing 747. It was also in many ways a strikingly advanced design for its day. Yet, commercially, this huge piston-engine airliner was a total failure for the British aircraft industry. The aircraft was named after Lord Brabazon of Tara, who headed a committee that produced a government report on […]

5

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, […]

6

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 […]

7

Vickers Gunbus

While it did not remotely resemble the modern idea of a fighter aircraft, the Vickers F.B.5 Gunbus(F.B. stood lor Fighting Biplane) was nevertheless one of the first machines to be purpose-built for air-to-air combat. Initially ordered by the British Admiralty, the biplane eventually served with both the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. Viekcrs needed to find a way of […]

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

Sopwith Tabloid

First built in 1913 when all speed records were held by monoplanes, the Sopwith Aviation Company’s triumphant Tabloid racer proved that a biplane could be first as well as robust. Originally a two-seat landplane powered by an 80-hp Gnome engine, the Tabloid’s performance proved so promising that Tom Sopwith decided to enter it for the 1914 Schneider Trophy seaplane race. However, the necessary […]

10

Ader avion III

Whenever a sceptic wants to cast doubt on the Wright brothers’ claim to be “firsl to fly”. he is likely to cite the experiments of French engineer Clément Ader. Where most aviation pioneers studied the flight of birds, Ader perversely, modelled his flying machines on bats. His weirdly gothic steam-powered monoplanes were sufficiently impressive to attract financial hacking from the French army, but whether they […]