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George Cayley


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George Cayley

An Aerial View of Aviation’s Hectic History – Part Two

Sir George Cayley, the 6th Baronet, was born on the 27th of December 1773 in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England and died on the 8th of December 1854 in Brompton, Yorkshire. He was an English forerunner on aerial navigation and aeronautical engineering and a designer of the first recorded successful glider to carry a human into the air. Since his early childhood, he was fascinated with flying. He conducted different tests and experiments aimed at exploring the principles of aerodynamics and to collect information of value in aircraft design. In 1809, he was able to publish his original research.

Significant findings in his research included elements of wing design, the use of rudder and elevators for control, advantages of streamlining, thoughts on a biplane and multiplane wings and ways of getting longitudinal and lateral stability. Through his career, he was able to design a wide array of aircraft, such as fix-wing machines, airships, and helicopters.


As soon as the airplanes were invented, the military immediately took advantage of their benefits. The first country to use airplanes in the military was Italy. They utilized airplane in the bombing and shelling of Libya during the Turkish-Italian wars; but, it was during the First World War that airplanes were used for both offensive and defensive purpose.

It was during 1914 that Roland Garros attached a machine gun on his airplane, which made him the first ever “ace”.

And in 1915, Kurt Wintgens attained his first airborne victory using a fighter plane armed with a built-in machine gun.

Countries all over the world were able to develop better aircraft and flight-based weaponry during the Second World War. Military from different countries used fighter bombers, ground attack aircraft, dive bombers, and strategic bombers. The introduction of the radar also provided an opportunity for controlled and coordinated deployment. And it was in 1942 that the world’s first ever jet-propelled bomber was launched named the “Arado Ar 234”.

21st Century

On the other hand, in the commercial aviation industry, the French passenger jet plane Concorde stopped its operation in the early 21st century. It wasn’t fuel-efficient and can only cater a few passengers, but it paved the way for the rising of airlines including the British Airways.

Commercial airliners may become non-operational because of the military’s attempt to eliminate piloted air planes. The introduction of UAVs – unmanned aerial vehicles – might make this possible in the next years. In 2003, the first ever autonomous flight through the Atlantic Ocean was completed successfully using a computer-controlled model airplane.

Since its introduction in the 1950’s, commercial planes haven’t improved when it comes to speed. Presently, the fastest jets used regularly are as fast as the B707. The Concorde that soars at two times the speed of sound was constrained by poor economics – it weighed about half as much as the first generation B747 and transported much lesser passengers and traveled a distance more than 3,000 kilometers shorter.

Furthermore, the Concorde was a target of the emerging environmentalists, and constrictions on overland supersonic flights greatly constrained the market of the airliner. The British Airways and Air France were the only airlines to operate it regularly, and though there were various cities that had Concorde services during the first untroubled years of its service, by the time the SST – supersonic transport was grounded in 2003, only Washington, New York, Paris, and London offered year-round services.

So, that was a brief throwback to the interesting history of aviation. Huge thanks to Sir George Cayley for his immense contribution to the aviation sector.  His ideas and inventions made way to the creation of the advanced commercial airplanes and jets for private jet charter flights that were lish today.

And for the Concorde, it’s sad to know that its topped its operation in 2003, but, it lead to better things as airplanes nowadays are strictly designed to provide utmost comfort and safety to the passengers while being environment-friendly.