The Man Who Discovered Flight

The Man Who Discovered Flight

George Cayley and the First Airplane

Book - 2007
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The father of flight is restored to his proper place by this compelling new biography. In 1799, one hundred years before the Wright Brothers' historic flights at Kitty Hawk, Sir George Cayley had engraved, on a silver disc about the size of a British shilling, both the design for an airplane and the earliest recorded description of the forces by which a wing can fly. Through his work, Cayley was the first to recognize and document the two opponent-paired forces of flight: weight and lift, thrust and drag. These discoveries culminated in the invention of the first practical airplanes. Cayley, his grandson John, and the ever supportive resident engineer Mr. Vick formed a team that would finally conquer the air. Aged seventy-five, Cayley and his little group developed a series of advanced models and in 1849 they finally flew a full-sized glider with a crew consisting of a ten-year-old boy. Shortly before his eightieth birthday, Cayley would build the machine which launched the world's first heavier-than-air aviator. Yet within less than a generation of his death Cayley's name would be virtually forgotten. The "father of aviation" would remain unknown to all but a tiny group who followed his pioneering work. In this compelling and popular account, Richard Dee tells the story of this remarkable man and his remarkable time. Using interviews with Cayley's remaining family and new research, Dee unravels the mysteries of Cayley's gliders and finally reveals the name of the first man to fly by airplane.
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, c2007.
ISBN: 9780771029714
Branch Call Number: 629. 130092 CAY D
Characteristics: xi, 328 p. : ill., ports.

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