First British flight

On October 16th 1908, the American Samuel Cody made the first airplane flight in Britain. Samuel came to the UK as part of a wild west show,made his reputation here as an airman via his man lifting kites & routinely lifted men to 2000 feet. The lifting kite was not exactly all Cody’s own work & he was involved in a copyright legal case with the Wright Brothers. But Cody’s design is still available as a commercially made kite today. I use one, with a 6 foot wingspan, to life wire antennas into the air.

In 1903 Cody crossed the English channel in a canoe towed by one of his kites.

Cody is the great grandfather of the BBC’s John Simpson.

My Cody Kite lifting a wire antenna.


All these Johnny come latelies :wink:

On the morning of 12 November 1894 Lawrence Hargrave launched a linked series of four box kites off the town beach at Stanwell Park just north of Wollongong, NSW and then climbed into a seat attached to the lowest kite. A strong gust propelled him into the air, but because of their box design the kites remained steady in the buffeting winds.

Having proven that human flight on a stable, multi-winged craft was possible, he said, ‘The particular steps gained are the demonstration that an extremely simple apparatus can be made, carried about, and flown by one man … without any risk of accident.’

Hargrave’s designs were quickly taken up by other inventors, including the American Octave Chanute, who he was in correspondence with, and whose designs were later incorporated by the Wright brothers into their Wright Flyer, the first aircraft to achieve powered flight with a pilot on board in December 1903.

n 1853, visitors to Brompton-by-Sawdon near Scarborough in Yorkshire would have witnessed an extraordinary sight. An elderly gentleman, Sir George Cayley, was making the final adjustments to his flying machine, a glider, in preparation for launching a grown man into the air.
According to the account of Cayley’s granddaughter, the somewhat reluctant pilot-passenger was a coachman, John Appleby. He took his place in a little boat-like carriage slung under the wings; the glider was duly launched, drawn by a galloping horse, and in a flight that must have only taken seconds, yet doubtless felt like hours to the terrified coachman, the machine flew 900 feet across the valley. It was the first recorded flight of a fixed-wing aircraft carrying an adult.

Something to read when you have time on your hands. C & P…
Celebrating 100 years of flying with pride

British Airways can trace its origins back to the birth of civil aviation, the pioneering days following World War I. In the 100 years that have passed since the world’s first schedule air service on 25 August 1919, air travel has changed beyond all recognition. Each decade saw new developments and challenges, which shaped the path for the future, Take a look at the different eras of air travel, to see how British Airways became the airline it is today.

Air Transport and Travel De Havilland DH9b G-EAQP

1910 to 1919

On 25 August 1919 Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited (AT&T), a forerunner company of today’s British Airways, launched the world’s first daily international scheduled air service, between London and Paris. That first flight, which took off from Hounslow Heath, close to today’s Heathrow Airport, carried a single passenger and cargo that included newspapers, Devonshire cream, jam and grouse.

Explore 1910-1919

Imperial Airways Armstrong Whitworth Argosy G-EBLF.

1920 to 1929

In 1924 Imperial Airways was created as the government’s “chosen instrument of air travel” by the amalgamation of The Instone Air Line Ltd., Handley Page Air Transport Ltd., The Daimler Airway and British Marine Air Navigation Co. Ltd. Imperial began services from London (Croydon) to European destinations as well as pioneering routes to Africa, the Middle East and India.

Explore 1920 to 1929

Imperial Airways Short S23 C Class Flying Boat G-ADHM Caledonia.

1930 to 1939

The introduction of luxurious aircraft including the HP42 offered customers new levels of luxury aloft. Imperial Airways opened services from Southampton to Empire destinations using the Short S23 flying boat; the Empire Air Mail Scheme was inaugurated. In 1935 four private airlines were merged to form the independent British Airways Limited; in 1939 the government announced its decision to merge the two airlines.

Explore 1930 to 1939

BOAC Lockheed Constellation G-AHEK Berwick II.

1940 to 1949

British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), the new state airline, was formed in April 1940 and operated wartime services under the control of the Air Ministry. In 1946, London Airport was opened officially. British European Airways (BEA) and British South American Airways (BSAA) were created to operate commercial services to Europe and South America respectively.

Explore 1940 to 1949

BOAC De Havilland Comet 1 G-ALYP leaving Heathrow for Johannesburg on the world's first jet service.

1950 to 1959

The delivery in 1952 of the De Havilland Comet enabled BOAC to operate the world’s first pure jet services and in October 1958, with the Comet 4, to operate the first transatlantic pure jet service. BEA successfully introduced the world-beating Vickers Viscount propeller-turbined aircraft into service on its UK domestic and European routes. The central area of London Airport opened in April 1955.

Explore 1950 to 1959

BOAC Vickers Super VC-10.

1960 to 1969

Deliveries of Boeing 707s and Vickers VC-10s to BOAC, and De Havilland Tridents to BEA, provided new commercial opportunities for both airlines. In 1965, at Heathrow, a BEA Trident made the world’s first fully automatic landing carrying commercial passengers.

Explore 1960 to 1969

British Airways BAC Super 1-11 G-BGKE.

1970 to 1979

The arrival in 1971 of the Boeing 747, the first wide-bodied jet, and the advent in 1976 of supersonic flight with Concorde presented contrasting new commercial opportunities and challenges. In 1974 British Airways was created by the merger of BOAC and BEA.

Explore 1970 to 1979

Lockheed Tristar L1011.

1980 to 1989

A new corporate identity, designed by Landor Associates, was unveiled in December 1984 and in 1986 the airline’s longhaul services moved into the newly-built Terminal 4 at Heathrow. The privatisation of British Airways was completed in 1987 under the leadership of Chairman Lord King. In 1988 BA was merged with Gatwick-based British Caledonian Airways.

Explore 1980 to 1989

British Airways Boeing 747-436 G-CIVX.

1990 to 1999

The airline unveiled in June 1997 its new corporate identity incorporating on its aircraft designs from around the world. A new fleet of Airbus aircraft was ordered for short haul services. The formation was announced in 1999 of a new global alliance – oneworld – which also included Qantas and American.

Explore 1990 to 1999

Boeing 777-200 in flight.

2000 to 2009

With much acclaim Concorde retired from service in 2003. Heathrow’s Terminal 5 was opened by the Queen in March 2008 and orders for new Airbus A380s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners were announced. Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge retired as Chairman of British Airways and was succeeded by Martin Broughton. The airline inaugurated the first longhaul route from London City Airport – to New York.

Explore 2000 to 2009

Airbus 380-800.

2010 to Present Day

Subsidiary Open Skies commences services between Paris Orly and Washington Dulles. Newly-created International Airlines Group (IAG) is formed and takes over British Airways and Iberia. Willie Walsh becomes Chief Executive of IAG and Keith Williams takes over as Chief Executive of British Airways. Joint Business Venture with American Airlines is approved. British Airways takes delivery of B777-300ER aircraft and retires the last B757s. Terminal 5C opens for business, and London City Airport celebrates 25 years. British Airways and Iberia cargo are integrated into IAG Cargo Limited. Sir Ross Stainton and Lord Marshall pass away. IAG buys bmi. British Airways carries the Olympic flame on board an Airbus A319 specially named Firefly and sponsor the Olympics and Paralympics. S7, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways and Open Skies join oneworld. British Airways and Qantas terminate their longstanding commercial agreement. British Airways and Japan Airlines form new joint business venture.

Explore 2010 to present day

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That first flight was just the tip of a huge soon-to-develop atmosphere polluting iceberg.


And the massive spread of contagious diseases to all corners of the planet in record time…


And the start of “damage tourism” on a world-wide exponential scale …



And the start of the mile high club, ( I’m not a member) :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

This is the state of the skies over Europe at 10:00am this morning…16/10/21
If human activity is responsible for Climate Change, this is the major problem that must be addressed first. The pollution from jet engines not only pollutes the atmosphere, but will eventually fall on our towns, cities and farmland, poisoning our food crops. No wonder cancer and other diseases are on the rise.


That’s an interesting graphic, Foxy…where did you get that from? Can you google real time flights as they happen?

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Morning Pixie… :039:
Try this:- Live Flight Tracker - Real-Time Flight Tracker Map | Flightradar24

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Thanks Foxy, that looks great! (Morning :wave: by the way!)

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Open link, click to launch interactive graphic … :astonished:


Such an interesting site, I recorded the start of my brother’s return from his diving trip on the Great Barrier Reef a few years ago. It’s really exciting :scream:


Another development of enormous importance to aviation was radio. Aviation and radio developed almost in lock step. Marconi sent his first message across the Atlantic on the airwaves just two years before the Wright Brothers? first flight at Kitty Hawk. By World War I, some pilots were taking radios up in the air with them so they could communicate with people on the ground. The airlines followed suit after the war, using radio to transmit weather information from the ground to their pilots, so they could avoid storms

An even more significant development, however, was the realization that radio could be used as an aid to navigation when visibility was poor and visual navigation aids, such as beacons, were useless. Once technical problems were worked out, the Department of Commerce constructed 83 radio beacons across the country. They became fully operational in 1932, automatically transmitting directional beams, or tracks, that pilots could follow to their destination. Marker beacons came next, allowing pilots to locate airports in poor visibility. The first air traffic control tower was established in 1935 at what is now Newark International Airport in New Jersey

The First Modern Airliners

Boeing built what generally is considered the first modern passenger airliner, the Boeing 247. It was unveiled in 1933, and United Air Lines promptly bought 60 of them. Based on a low-wing, twin-engine bomber with retractable landing gear built for the military, the 247 accommodated 10 passengers and cruised at 155 miles per hour. Its cabin was insulated, to reduce engine noise levels inside the plane, and it featured such amenities as upholstered seats and a hot water heater to make flying more comfortable to passengers. Eventually, Boeing also gave the 247 variable-pitch propellers, that reduced takeoff distances, increased the rate of climb, and boosted cruising speeds

Not to be outdone by United, TWA went searching for an alternative to the 247 and eventually found what it wanted from the Douglas Aircraft Company. Its DC-1 incorporated Boeing’s innovations and improved upon many of them. The DC-1 had a more powerful engine and accommodations for two more passengers than did the 247. More importantly, the airframe was designed so that the skin of the aircraft bore most of the stress on the plane during flight. There was no interior skeleton of metal spars, thus giving passengers more room than they had in the 247.The DC-1 also was easier to fly. It was equipped with the first automatic pilot and the first efficient wing flaps, for added lift during takeoff. However, for all its advancements, only one DC-1 was ever built. Douglas decided almost immediately to alter its design, adding 18 inches to its length so it could accommodate two more passengers. The new, longer version was called the DC-2 and it was a big success, but the best was still to come

The DC-3

Called the plane that changed the world, the DC-3 was the first aircraft to enable airlines to make money carrying passengers. As a result, it quickly became the dominant aircraft in the United States, following its debut in 1936 with American Airlines (which played a key role in its design).

The DC-3 had 50 percent greater passenger capacity than the DC-2 (21 seats versus 14), yet cost only ten percent more to operate. It also was considered a safer plane, built of an aluminum alloy stronger than materials previously used in aircraft construction. It had more powerful engines (1,000 horsepower versus 710 horsepower for the DC-2), and it could travel coast to coast in only 16 hours - a fast trip for that time.

Another important improvement was the use of a hydraulic pump to lower and raise the landing gear. This freed pilots from having to crank the gear up and down during takeoffs and landings. For greater passenger comfort, the DC-3 had a noise-deadening plastic insulation, and seats set in rubber to minimize vibrations. It was a fantastically popular airplane, and it helped attract many new travelers to flying.

Pressurized Cabins

Although planes such as the Boeing 247 and the DC-3 represented significant advances in aircraft design, they had a major drawback. They could fly no higher than 10,000 feet, because people became dizzy and even fainted, due to the reduced levels of oxygen at higher altitudes.

The airlines wanted to fly higher, to get above the air turbulence and storms common at lower altitudes. Motion sickness was a problem for many airline passengers, and an inhibiting factor to the industry’s growth.

The breakthrough came at Boeing with the Stratoliner, a derivation of the B-17 bomber introduced in 1940 and first flown by TWA. It was the first pressurized aircraft, meaning that air was pumped into the aircraft as it gained altitude to maintain an atmosphere inside the cabin similar to the atmosphere that occurs naturally at lower altitudes. With its regulated air compressor, the 33-seat Stratoliner could fly as high as 20,000 feet and reach speeds of 200 miles per hour.

The Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938

Government decisions continued to prove as important to aviation’s future as technological breakthroughs, and one of the most important aviation bills ever enacted by Congress was the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938. Until that time, numerous government agencies and departments had a hand in aviation policy. Airlines sometimes were pushed and pulled in several directions, and there was no central agency working for the long-term development of the industry. All the airlines had been losing money, since the postal reforms in 1934 significantly reduced the amount they were paid for carrying the mail.

The airlines wanted more rationalized government regulation, through an independent agency, and the Civil Aeronautics Act gave them what they needed. It created the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) and gave the new agency power to regulate airline fares, airmail rates, interline agreements, mergers and routes. Its mission was to preserve order in the industry, holding rates to reasonable levels while, at the same time nurturing the still financially-shaky airline industry, thereby encouraging the development of commercial air transportation.

Congress created a separate agency - the Air Safety Board - to investigate accidents. In 1940, however, President Roosevelt convinced Congress to transfer the accident investigation function to the CAA, which was then renamed the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB). These moves, coupled with the tremendous progress made on the technological side, put the industry on the road to success.

World War II

Aviation had an enormous impact on the course of World War II and the war had just as significant an impact on aviation. There were fewer than 300 air transport aircraft in the United States when Hitler marched into Poland in 1939. By the end of the war, U.S. aircraft manufacturers were producing 50,000 planes a year.

Most of the planes, of course, were fighters and bombers, but the importance of air transports to the war effort quickly became apparent as well. Throughout the war, the airlines provided much needed airlift to keep troops and supplies moving, to the front and throughout the production chain back home. For the first time in their history, the airlines had far more business - for passengers as well as freight - than they could handle. Many of them also had opportunities to pioneer new routes, gaining an exposure that would give them a decidedly broader outlook at war’s end.

While there were numerous advances in U.S. aircraft design during the war, that enabled planes to go faster, higher, and farther than ever before, mass production was the chief goal of the United States. The major innovations of the wartime period - radar and jet engines - occurred in Europe.

The Jet Engine

Isaac Newton was the first to theorize, in the 18th century, that a rearward-channeled explosion could propel a machine forward at a great rate of speed. However, no one found a practical application for the theory until Frank Whittle, a British pilot, designed the first jet engine in 1930. Even then, widespread skepticism about the commercial viability of a jet prevented Whittle’s design from being tested for several years.

The Germans were the first to build and test a jet aircraft. Based on a design by Hans von Ohain, a student whose work was independent of Whittle’s, it flew in 1939, although not as well as the Germans had hoped. It would take another five years for German scientists to perfect the design, by which time it was, fortunately, too late to affect the outcome of the war.

Whittle also improved his jet engine during the war, and in 1942 he shipped an engine prototype to General Electric in the United States. America’s first jet plane - the Bell P-59 - was built the following year.


Another technological development with a much greater impact on the war’s outcome (and later on commercial aviation) was radar. British scientists had been working on a device that could give them early warning of approaching enemy aircraft even before the war began, and by 1940 Britain had a line of radar transceivers along its east coast that could detect German aircraft the moment they took off from the Continent. British scientists also perfected the cathode ray oscilloscope, which produced map-type outlines of surrounding countryside and showed aircraft as a pulsing light. Americans, meanwhile, found a way to distinguish between enemy aircraft and allied aircraft by installing transponders aboard the latter that signaled their identity to radar operators.

Dawn of the Jet Age

Aviation was poised to advance rapidly following the war, in large part because of the development of jets, but there still were significant problems to overcome. In 1952, a 36-seat British-made jet, the Comet, flew from London to Johannesburg, South Africa, at speeds as high as 500 miles per hour. Two years later, the Comet’s career ended abruptly following two back-to-back accidents in which the fuselage burst apart during flight - the result of metal fatigue.

The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, following World War II, helped secure the funding needed to solve such problems and advance the jet’s development. Most of the breakthroughs related to military aircraft that later were applied to the commercial sector. For example, Boeing employed a swept-back wing design for its B-47 and B-52 bombers to reduce drag and increase speed. Later, the design was incorporated into commercial jets, making them faster and thus more attractive to passengers. The best example of military - civilian technology transfer was the jet tanker Boeing designed for the Air Force to refuel bombers in flight. The tanker, the KC-135, was a huge success as a military plane, but even more successful when revamped and introduced, in 1958, as the first U.S. passenger jet, the Boeing 707. With a length of 125 feet and four engines with 17,000 pounds of thrust each, the 707 could carry up to 181 passengers and travel at speeds of 550 miles per hour. Its engines proved more reliable than piston-driven engines - producing less vibration, putting less stress on the plane’s airframe and reducing maintenance expenses. They also burned kerosene, which cost half as much as the high-octane gasoline used in more traditional planes. With the 707, first ordered and operated by Pan Am, all questions about the commercial feasibility of jets were answered. The Jet Age had arrived, and other airlines soon were lining up to buy the new aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Act of 1958

Following World War II, air travel soared, but with the industry’s growth came new problems. In 1956 two aircraft collided over the Grand Canyon, killing 128 people. The skies were getting too crowded for existing systems of aircraft separation, and Congress responded by passing the Federal Aviation Act of 1958.

The legislation created a new safety regulatory agency, the Federal Aviation Agency, later called the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) when Congress created the Department of Transportation (DOT) in 1967. The agency was charged with establishing and running a broad air traffic control system, to maintain safe separation of all commercial aircraft through all phases of flight. In addition, it assumed jurisdiction over all other aviation safety matters, such as the certification of aircraft designs, and airline training and maintenance programs. The Civil Aeronautics Board retained jurisdiction over economic matters, such as airline routes and rates.

Wide-bodies and Supersonics

1969 marked the debut of another revolutionary aircraft, the Boeing 747, which, again, Pan Am was the first to purchase and fly in commercial service. It was the first wide-body jet, with two aisles, a distinctive upper deck over the front section of the fuselage, and four engines. With seating for as many as 450 passengers, it was twice as big as any other Boeing jet and 80 percent bigger than the largest jet up until that time, the DC-8.

Recognizing the economies of scale to be gained from larger jets, other aircraft manufacturers quickly followed suit. Douglas built its first wide-body, the DC-10, in 1970, and only a month later, Lockheed flew its contender in the wide-body market, the L-1011. Both of these jets had three engines (one under each wing and one on the tail) and were smaller than the 747, seating about 250 passengers.

During the same period of time, efforts were underway in both the United States and Europe to build a supersonic commercial aircraft. The Soviet Union was the first to succeed, testing the Tupolev 144 in December of 1968. A consortium of West European aircraft manufacturers first flew the Concorde two months later and eventually produced a number of those fast, but small, jets for commercial service. U.S. efforts to produce a supersonic passenger jet, on the other hand, stalled in 1971 due to public concern about it’s expense and the sonic boom produced by such aircraft.

always, History is going to be a lot of reading…

The following is archive footage from WW1, relating to Naval activity.

It was the tireless work of amateur radio enthusiasts during World War I, that initially convinced the Admiralty to establish a radio intercept station at Hunstanton. Playing an integral role during the war, technological advances meant that radio operators could pinpoint signals, thus uncovering the movement of German boats, leading to the decisive Battle of Jutland in 1916.