The Man Who Invented The Aeroplane

Born in 1773 in Scarborough, Sir George Cayley is recognised by many (including the Wright Brothers) as the Father of Aeronautics, thanks to a series of ground-breaking papers published in 1809 / 1810. However, boatbuilder Colin Wigglesworth makes an even greater claim for Cayley: that he actually flew a heavier-than-air machine in 1808. But did he really fly? This is the story of Colin's attempt to prove it.   

2003 is the centenary of the Wright Brothers amazing flight at Kittyhawk, and Colin has chosen this year to attempt to make and fly the Cayley 1808 glider, proving he hopes that manned flight in aeroplanes began nearly 100 years before the Wrights. The plans are assembled from Cayley's incredible science notebooks, with help from local pilot and aeronautical engineer Martin Lucas - who becomes so wrapped up in the project that he volunteers to act as pilot if the plane is ever ready for take off.

Producer: Jon Doyle

Editor: Mike Pearson

Executive Producer: Paul Bader

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