Pioneering Places of British Aviation - The Early Years of Powered Flight in the UK
Publisher: Air World
A high-flying tour of British aviation history—and the sites where trials and triumphs took place.
From the beginning of the nineteenth century, Britain was at the forefront of powered flight. Across the country, many places became centers of innovation and experimentation, as increasing numbers of daring men took to the skies.
In 1799, at Brompton Hall, Sir George Cayley Bart put forward ideas that formed the basis of powered flight. There were balloon flights at Hendon from 1862, though attempts at powered flights from the area, later used as the famous airfield, don’t seem to have been particularly successful. Despite this, Louis Bleriot established a flying school there in 1910.
It was gliders that Percy Pilcher flew from the grounds of Stamford Hall, Leicestershire, during the 1890s. He was killed in a crash there in 1899, but Pilcher had plans for a powered aircraft which experts believe may well have enabled him to beat the Wright Brothers in becoming the first to make a fixed-wing powered flight. At Brooklands, unsuccessful attempts were made to build and fly a powered aircraft in 1906—but on June 8, 1908, A.V. Roe made what is considered the first powered flight in Britain from there—in reality a short hop—in a machine of his own design and construction, enabling Brooklands to call itself the birthplace of British aviation.
These are just a few of the places investigated in this intriguing look at the early days of British aviation, which includes the first ever aircraft factory in Britain in the railway arches at Battersea; Larkhill on Salisbury Plain, which became the British Army’s first airfield; and Barking Creek, where Frederick Handley Page established his first factory.
Available since: 03/30/2020.
Print length: 248 pages.