A Yorkshire Invention: The Wonder of Aviation

by Editorial Team
Published: Last Updated on

As Yorkshire Air Museum bursts back to life after long months of lockdown, we will be celebrating the wonder of aviation, which we proudly proclaim as Yorkshire’s greatest invention! Did you know that the aeroplane was first invented in our own county?

As Museum Director Barbara George explains: “Scarborough born nobleman George Cayley was so inspired by the passenger carrying hot air balloons of the Montgolfier brothers in France that he defined the principles for a ‘flying machine’ in 1799, designing the very first outline of a ‘conventional’ aeroplane with fixed wings and a ‘fuselage’, using the acts of propulsion and lift as individual functions to make it fly.”

Cayley’s ongoing experiments in aviation were guided by his vision of aerial navigation that “… man, his goods and chattels, could be carried more efficiently through the air than by land or water, possibly reaching speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour”. What a visionary statement to make at that time!

This ultimately led to the creation of his full-size glider which, in 1853, made the first man-carrying flight at his family home at Brompton-by-Sawdon.

Cayley’s 1853 glider, which made the first man-carrying flight at his family home at Brompton by Sawdon.

The Museum is proud to display the unique replica of this amazing craft which will take centre place in our huge hangar, along with other iconic Yorkshire designed aircraft, such as the Blackburn Buccaneer and, of course, our own unique WWII Halifax Mk. III bomber, “Friday the 13th”. The latter is named after the most successful Halifax, flying from its Yorkshire base at RAF Lissett near Bridlington.

Yorkshire Air Museum explores aviation from pioneering days, with a full-size Wright Flyer replica also built in Yorkshire, to the thrill of the supersonic age, as represented by the awesome French Dassault Mirage IV, capable in its time of a speed more than twice the speed of sound. What would Sir George have made, we wonder, of every aircraft ever designed owing itself to his ingenuity.

We know you’ll be inspired after visiting our wonderful museum, based on an original WWII Bomber Command base, with all the history and heritage of the period.

Enjoy our amazing aircraft collection and our extensive spacious grounds. While you are here, take a stroll around our woodland nature area, discover a tranquil, fragrant spot in our ‘Jardin des Papillons’, or enjoy a family picnic on our lawns.

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