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Thursday, 9 April 2015


Inventor Diego Marín Aguilera, the "father of aviation" in Spain, flew one of the first gliders for about 360 meters (1,180 feet) on the night of May 15, 1793.

Yorkshire engineer George Cayley was the first man to move away from the idea that a man-made flying machine must have wings that flapped like a bird's. The first glider he built in 1804 flew 1500 feet.

The model glider successfully flown by Cayley in 1804 had the layout of a modern aircraft, with a kite-shaped wing towards the front and an adjustable tailplane at the back comprising horizontal stabilisers and a vertical fin.

With the continued assistance of his grandson George John Cayley and his resident engineer Thomas Vick, Cayley developed a larger scale glider . In 1853 the first-ever sustained manned glider flight was made when either Cayley's coachman, footman or butler flew across Brompton Dale in Yorkshire.

Orville Wright and his English friend Alec Ogilvie remained in the air nine minutes and 45 seconds in a Wright Glider, at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina on October 24, 1911. This broke the Wright brothers' previous record of 1 minute 12 seconds set in 1903 with their 1902 glider. The new record stood for ten years until broken in Germany.

 1911 glider over the Kill Devil Hills. Library of Congress Wright Collection.

Charles Lindbergh's wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh, flew in a Bowlus sailplane from Mount Soledad and was the first woman in the United States to receive a "first class" glider license.

Bety Boothroyd, the first woman Speaker of the House of Commons, took up paragliding in her 60s, but later gave it up, complaining it had become boring.

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