Who taught us the basics of flying ???
Posted December 26th, 2013
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Sir George Cayley, 6th Baronet of Brompton (27 December 1773 – 15 December 1857) was a prolific English engineer and one of the most important people in the history of Aeronautics. He is considered as the first true scientific aerial investigator and the first person to understand the underlying principles and forces of flight by far.


In 1799 he set forth the concept of the modern aeroplane as a fixed wing flying machine with separate systems for lift, propulsion, and control. He was considered to be the Pioneer of Aeronautical Engineering and many considered him as an Father of Aeronautics.



He discovered and identified the four aerodynamic forces of flight: weight, lift, drag, and thrust, which act on any flying vehicle. Modern aeroplane design is based on these discoveries. He is credited with the first major breakthrough in heavier-than-air flight and he worked over half a century before the development of powered flight, being acknowledged by the Wright Brothers. He designed the first actual model of an aeroplane and also diagrammed the elements of vertical flight.


In 1838 he helped found the UK's first Polytechnic Institute; the Royal Polytechnic Institution (now University of Westminster). Captured by the optimism of the times, he engaged in a wide variety of engineering projects. Among the many things that he developed are self-righting lifeboats, tension-spoke wheels, the "Universal Railway" (his term for caterpillar tractors), automatic signals for railway crossings, seat belts, small scale helicopters, and a kind of prototypical internal combustion engine fuelled by gunpowder. He also contributed in the fields of prosthetics, etc.


He wrote a landmark three-part treatise titled "On Aerial Navigation" (1809–1810), which was published in Nicholson’s Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry and the Arts.

To measure the drag on objects at different speeds and angles of attack, he later built a "whirling-arm apparatus", a development of earlier work in ballistics and air resistance. He also experimented with rotating wing sections of various forms in the stairwells at Brompton Hall.


He discovered the importance of the dihedral angle for lateral stability in flight, and deliberately set the centre of gravity of many of his models well below the wings for this reason; these mechanics influenced the development of hand gliders. As a result of his investigations into many other theoretical aspects of flight, many now acknowledge him as the first Aeronautical Engineer.


The model glider successfully flown by Cayley in 1804 had the layout of a modern aircraft, with a kite-shaped wing towards the front and an adjustable tail plane at the back comprising horizontal stabilizers and a vertical fin.




There are display boards and a video film at the Royal Air Force Museum London in Hendon, honoring Cayley's achievements and a modern exhibition and film "Pioneers of Aviation" at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington,York. 


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