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Engines of our Ingeuity - Cayley's Flying Machine

Sir George Cayley was born in 1773, in Yorkshire. He was studious from the start, and determined to solve the old riddle of human flight. He was 10 when the French invented hot air balloons, but they weren't good enough. Cayley knew that serious flying machines would eventually have to be heavier than air. By his early twenties, he'd built a laboratory at his ancestral home of Brompton Hall. He was doing sophisticated aerodynamic studies. He also had the wits to hang out in a local… ( Altro...

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Yes, but Cayley was the first to put it all together: Fuselage, wing, empennage.
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Certainly Sir George Cayley has a lofty place in the history of aviation and its well deserved. That he "conceived" the lifting airfoil though is incorrect. He was probably just the first to put it down in a scientific paper in relation to flight. Almost all other previous experimenters and inventors also knew that lifting airfoils were needed and it was just a matter of getting the efficiency to the level of flight the same way as Charles Taylor finally got the efficiency of the internal combustion engine to the level of powered flight. Many centuries before Cayley the first sailors realized that ships didn't just float on the water but "flew" on the water with their sails and changing the tension or camber of the sails changed their efficiency. Sails equate to wings and hulls to fuselages is one of many reasons why flight is referred to as aeronautics.


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