M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
Cayley 1809 Glider
Following his experiments with models and the consequent establishment of a practical form of man-carrying aircraft, Sir George Cayley had by 1809 constructed a full-size glider. The area of the lifting surfaces was 300 sq. ft. and, with a loaded weight of 140 lb., this gave a wing-loading of just under 1/2 lb. sq. ft. Tests at Brompton Hall demonstrated that the machine was quite stable and that it would glide downhill in any direction dictated by its rudder. These trials were unmanned, but Cayley claimed that, when anyone ran forward with it at full speed into a gentle breeze, the glider's lift was so strong that it would often rise and bear the runner aloft for several yards at a stretch. Before further investigations could be carried out with the machine, it was accidentally broken.
Cayley 1849 Glider
Forty years elapsed between the building of Sir George Cayley's full-size unmanned glider of 1809 and his man-carrying glider of 1849. In the interim, many varied ideas for the advancement of the science of flight passed through his fertile mind and were committed to paper in his notebooks.
The details of the form of this later machine are the sole known particulars to have survived of the earliest aircraft constructed with the express intention of carrying a man. An examination of the glider reveals immediately the remarkably high level of practical aerodynamic knowledge which had been reached as a result of his work. The machine was a triplane with a total wing area of 338 sq. ft., the surfaces being set with dihedral to assist lateral stability. The boat-shaped nacelle was suspended below the wings by struts and was braced with wires. The glider rested on an undercarriage of three tension wheels, two of which were at the front, while the third was at the rear. Longitudinal stability was ensured by a fixed tail plane and fin, the complete unit being mounted at the trailing-edge of the centre wings and adjusted in incidence by cords from the nacelle. Control in flight was effected by a duplicate combined elevator and rudder mounted below the upper unit and pivoted at the rear of the nacelle, operation being by the pilot's hand on the lever to which it was attached. Two levers, fitted vertically in front of the pilot, were connected to a pair of smaller flapping wings, each of 6 ft. span, which Cayley designed for the purpose of observing their effect on the gliding angle.
During 1849, the triplane glider was flown at Brompton Hall unmanned in ballast, and also succeeded in gliding several yards downhill with a ten-year-old boy on board on two occasions. In his notes made a few years after the event, Cayley refers to the machine as "the old flyer”. Weight empty, about 130 lb.
Cayley 1853 Glider
Sir George Cayley's glider of 1853 represented the culmination of some sixty years investigation into the realm of flight, which earned for him recognition as the inventor of the aeroplane in the form in which it finally evolved. The exact details of this machine remain to be determined, but it is understood to have been not a monoplane but either a biplane or a triplane, with the triplane the likeliest layout for the wings. The rest of the airframe is believed to have followed closely that of the 1849 glider, and to distinguish the later aircraft from the earlier, it is referred to in the Cayley notes as "the new flyer '.
In 1853 Cayley persuaded his coachman to make the first known manned gliding flight, which covered a distance of some 500 yards across the small valley at Brompton Hall, the family seat near Scarborough, Yorks. Weight empty, about 165 lb.