Cayley built the first machine for testing airfoils, a whirling arm device. He was the first to realize that a cambered airfoil is more efficient than a flat surface. His 1804 glider, of modern aircraft configuration, was the first man-made machine to fly. This glider had adjustable tail surfaces to control the direction of flight. It would “skim for 20 or 30 yards” and “was very pretty to see sail down a steep hill.” In 1853, another Cayley glider carried his coachman 200 yards, after which the coachman said, “Please, Sir George, I wish to give notice. I was hired to drive and not to fly.” This flight was achieved by towing the glider behind a horse and was not a free flight. He tested and measured the lifting properties of various surfaces by attaching them to a whirling arm. He recognized the importance of having the wing at the correct angle in relation to the airflow (angle of attack), as well as the fact that superposed wings (biplane or triplane design) gave maximum lift with minimum structure weight. In 1809, Cayley was quoted as saying, “I feel perfectly confident that we shall be able to transport ourselves and families, and their goods and chattels, more securely by air than by water, and with a velocity of from 20 to 100 miles per hour.”
Specifications: Span 13 in., length 54 in., weight approx. 4 ounces.