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.
A.Andrews. The Flying Machine: Its Evolution through the Ages (Putnam)
In 1799 Sir George Cayley, at the age of 25, engraved a silver disk with the sketch of a flying machine manned by a pilot sitting between the cambered wings of a biplane that has tailplanes and fin in one unit shaped like a paper dart. It is the most significant single design in the whole history of the development of flight, for in one stroke it casts the matrix for future practical aircraft. It has aeroplanes, ie, fixed wings, a concept unique at that time, for it concedes that all the effort of past centuries spent in flapping artificial wings in imitation of birds flying (not soaring) is renounced. The problem of lift is isolated from preoccupation with thrust, and is tackled by the fixed wings and the angle they make with fluid air. The problem of thrust is likewise isolated and passed over to a method of separate propulsion - in this case not a power engine but a pair of broad paddles which the pilot is rowing remotely through levers by pulling on oar-handles. The tail is a separate unit on a universal joint, adjustable by the pilot for steering, and it is of a cruciform kite shape - a tail unit construction that Cayley did not fundamentally change in the 56 years during which he continued to experiment. The radical revolution, from an aeronautical point of view, is that the ornithopter is abandoned and the designer has adopted the aerodynamic principle of the kite.
Cayley had sent a boy for a few feet into the air in 1849, but not in free flight. He used a full-size aeroplane, designed as the triplane he had recommended at the time of the Henson controversy six years earlier. He was at the same time very preoccupied with developing the hot-air engine, but he did not install it in the glider. Instead he fitted the car with flappers'with which the pilot was supposed to row to glory. Glory of a sort did come. Cayley recorded: ‘A boy of about ten years of age was floated off the ground for several yards on descending the hill, and also for about the same space by some persons pulling the apparatus against a very slight breeze by a rope.’
In 1853, using another full-size machine, which he called his New Flyer, Cayley and his ground crew moved on to the east side of the deep dale behind Brompton Hall, his country home. He requested his coachman to occupy the car, which was equipped with handles to work flappers and levers to brake the undercarriage wheels. The machine was hustled down the hill until it was launched into the air. It sailed across the valley, well stabilised because of Cayley’s previous trimming of the craft, and not immediately put out of kilter by the coachman’s frenzied manipulation of the flappers. It landed, after a flight of some 500yd, not so neatly as might have been hoped, hitting the opposite side of the dale and overturning the car. The ground crew rushed across to free the coachman from the debris, but old Cayley, knowing he was not spry enough to keep up with them, took his time. Consequently the coachman, once he had been set solidly on his feet, had to cup his hands to shout across the valley his reaction to this historic occasion. The bellowed message was: ‘Please, Sir George, I wish to give notice. I was hired to drive, and not to fly.’
Four and a half years later Cayley was dead, having spent the interim designing an even more complex machine than any he had yet suggested. With the exception of the provision of an adequate engine, the key to almost all the aeronautical problems that presented themselves between his death and the Wrights’ triumph was tucked, not too obscurely, within the records and statements of his work. But he was forgotten almost immediately. For the next 50 years individual inventors were pecking away at problems he had already largely investigated and solved.