Otto Lilienthal. The Father of controlled flight. 1895. Otto built his own launch hill outside Berlin and did over 2000 glides before his death in a crash. He died in August, 1896.
Alberto Santos Dumont testing 14 bis under a balloon, 1906. Outside Paris
Santos Dumont. The first powered flight in Europe. Paris. 1906 A tail first canard design. The pilot stands in a wicker basket. It certainly does look like a box-kite.
Esnault-Pelterie R.E.P. No 1. The aircraft is actually outpacing runners on its take-off, outside Paris 1907. The first aircraft to employ a a joystick as the main flight control.
No rudder in this design, just a thin dorsal and vane like fuselage. It really did fly, though at a maximum speed of 37 mph, it was not fast. Maximum altitude was 100 feet. Note single mainwheel undercarriage.
Robert Esnault-Pelterie’s next model, the R.E.P. 2 of 1908. Largely unchanged, he has added a balanced rudder under the tailplane and a dorsal fin behind his cockpit.
A clever chap, he made his own engine; a R.E.P. 7-cylinder two-row semi-radial piston engine of 30 hp. 7 cylinders for 30 hp? Love the central main gear, straight off a Frog motorcycle.
Nowadays, some aviation people would have the cheek to call this machine a shit-heap. Amazingly, it had a tailwheel.
Henri Farman, flying the first circular kilometre. 1908. In a Viosin aeroplane.
Alliot Verdon Roe’s Avro Tri-plane. Lea Marshes, UK. 1909. The same company that later produced the Lancaster and the Vulcan jet bomber.
His first model tri-planes had brown paper covering on the wings and a 9 hp J.A.P motorcycle engine. (That’s J.A.Prestwich Engine Co.).
John T. Moore-Brabazon and his pig. Isle of Sheppey, UK. 1909.
In October 1909, flying the Short Biplane No. 2, he flew a circular mile and won a 1,000 pound prize offered by the Daily Mail newspaper, as a joke to prove that pigs could fly
Grade monoplane of 1909. The German idea to take away the hassle of turning arse over head. Gustav Tweer was the first German to loop the loop.
Gnome rotary engine. 1909.
French Airshow poster 1909
The Old and the New. A Prussian Cavalry Officer views the German Army’s new Wright military biplane. Flugplatz Johannisthal, Berlin. 1910.
The airfield at Johannisthal was Germany’s first, opening in 1909.
The de Havilland Company made an astonishing variety of wonderful aircraft from this time until the DH 121 Trident Jetliner in the 1960s.
Be2c, DH-2 fighter, DH-4, DH-9, DH 60 Moth, Highclere airliner, Puss Moth, Tiger Moth, Dragon, Comet Racer, Albatross airliner, Mosquito fighter bomber, Comet jet airliner, Dove, Vampire and hundreds of other types.
Sir Geoffrey lost two sons in flying/ test accidents along the way. An amazing man and an amazing career. In 1910 it was all yet to come.
Hares and rabbits on take-off and landing were a worry, as was boiling water from the engine’s radiator and pipes. Berlin, 1911.
Avro G enclosed cockpit 1912. Tandem two seat. This was the first aircraft in the world to recover from an involuntary spin. Lt.Wilfred Parkes, RN.
He solved the spin – after all else had failed – by reversing the controls as a last resort.
Claude Graham-White, flying his Maurice Farman Longhorn at Brooklands, Weybridge in Surrey, UK. 1912.
Graham-White started a flying club at Hendon, London in 1911. This aerodrome later became RAF Hendon, now home to the RAF Museum.
Handley Page, Type E. The Yellow Peril of 1912. At the Brooklands Motor Racing Circuit and Aerodrome, UK. The “Peril” was known for its propensity for unexpected spinning.
Frogs rev up the double row Gnome 190 hp rotary on the 127 mph Deperdussin. 1912. The fuselage was plywood monocoque. These racers were the ancestors of the famous WW1 SPAD fighters.
Designed by Louis Bechereau of the Société Pour L'Aviation et ses Dérivés (SPAD) company. Pilot Jules Vedrines was the first to fly faster than two miles per minute.
A German Etrich Taube aircraft, looking sad after a poor landing. 1913. Taube means Dove in German and these machines certainly looked like a bird.
Note this aircraft – common at the time – has no ailerons, Wing warping was used for lateral control.
These machines flew at the beginning of WW1, with their pilots taking pot-shots at enemy aircraft with pistols. Later, things got more serious.
During a 1913 race around the UK, Lt. Travers visits First Lord of the Admiralty Churchill on the HMS Enchantress. The aircraft is a Borel floatplane.
Russia's Sikorsky Le Grand. 1913. 4 engines, enclosed cabin and cockpit area. A maximum speed 55 mph. Max. ceiling was 2000 feet. 4 X 100 hp engines.
Sikorsky Ilya Muromets, a vast improvement on the Le Grand. Four 140 hp engines, a 10,000 foot ceiling and a top speed of 70mph. This 1913 model was further developed so that Russia began WW1 with the world’s only 4 engine bomber.
Note the promenade deck and the brave soldiers on the top of the fuselage. Sikorsky immigrated to the USA in 1919. He became famous for his flying boats and helicopters.
The Ilya Muromets first flew in December, 1913 and had a wingspan of 98 feet. During WW1 the engines, span and payload got much bigger.
Count von Zeppelin, standing (wearing white cap) centre of gondola, issues last minute instructions to the aircrew. The Crown Prince and his staff confer on the left.
Early 1914. Preparing the Zeppelin dirigible for a flight.
Winston Churchill, , First Lord of the Admiralty, keeps his hand in. Eastchurch Naval Station. Feb 1914. Short seaplane.
He was a really awful pilot. Someone once used the phrase”falling between stools”, to which Churchill remarked “when I was flying, it was stalling between fools”.
Luckily for him, wife Clementine put the foot down and said “No more flying for you”.
Eastchurch Naval Wing of Royal Flying Corps. Feb 1914. Bristol Scouts. Note English insignia (the Union Jack) painted on aircraft at this time.