The principles of aerodynamics were first worked out by the grandfather of the airplane, the British inventor, Sir George Cayley. His studies of heavier-than-air flight led him to build a model glider

in 1804. By 1853 he built the first full-size glider, which carried his assistant 200 metres. William Henson and John Stringfellow also took up the challenge in 1843, producing an airplane with a compact steam engine. It was too heavy. During the 1890s Clement Ader and Hiram Maxim worked together to produce a craft that briefly left the ground, and in Germany Otto Lilienthal built and flew many gliders, the world learning more about the subject all the time. The principles of aerodynamics were first worked out by the grandfather of the airplane, the British inventor, Sir George Cayley. His studies of heavier-than-air flight led him to build a model glider in 1804. By 1853 he built the first full-size glider, which carried his assistant 200 metres. William Henson and John Stringfellow also took up the challenge in 1843, producing an airplane with a compact steam engine. It was too heavy. During the 1890s Clement Ader and Hiram Maxim worked together to produce a craft that briefly left the ground, and in Germany Otto Lilienthal built and flew many gliders, the world learning more about the subject all the time.    These magnificent men in their flying machines laid much of the groundwork that was to come together in America in 1896 when Samuel Langley built a steam powered model aircraft that stayed up for 90 seconds. Impressed, the US War Dept granted $50,000 for Langley to design a full-sized petrol-driven airplane. In October 1903 the aircraft failed and plunged into the sea. But the world was now ready for flight.    Two months later, on 17 December 1903, two brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright, realized the dream. Running a bicycle repair shop in Dayton, Ohio, they had studied the principles well. At Kitty Hawk on the North Carolina coast, their Flyer, powered by a 12-horsepower Petrol engine, took off and flew for 12 seconds. After many failures over the previous three years, three more flights were made that day, one lasting for 59 seconds and covering 260 metres.

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