Cody’s British Army Aeroplane No 1 shortly before it made the celebrated first powered, sustained and controlled flight in the UK. The curious fabric “fantail” extending from the upper wing trailing edge to the top of the rudder was soon done away with; just another of the numerous changes the machine underwent during its protracted period of construction.
The one and only photograph of Cody making the first powered flight in the UK, at Farnborough on October 16, 1908. Farnborough Common's unsuitability as a testing ground for pioneer aeroplanes quickly became apparent. Cody struggling to avoid trees and bushes.
An ignominious end to a glorious event; British Army Aeroplane No 1 following its abrupt descent after losing height while manoeuvring to avoid trees and bushes on Farnborough Common. The aircraft never flew again in this form, but underwent substantial modification before it re-emerged some three months later.
Samuel Franklin Cowdery, popularly known as “Colonel Cody”, after the surname he “borrowed” from his Wild West hero, Buffalo Bill Cody;
Cody among a plethora of his kites in his Alexandra Palace workshop.
This photograph of Roe in the biplane pointing down the slope of the "pull-up” at Brooklands suggests that he used the slope to increase the aeroplane’s speed during taxying trials with the inadequate 6 h.p. JAP engine.
Roe poses with his newly completed biplane in its shed alongside the Brooklands track in late 1907. The aeroplane fitted sideways in its shed, which meant that several men were required to lift it in and out every time a trial was made.
Unpublished for some 109 years, these two photographs show the completed fuselage of A.V. Roe’s first mancarrying aircraft at his brother’s house in Wandsworth in 1907. Fitted to the airframe is the four-paddle-bladed propeller, which caused Roe many headaches. In a letter dated April 1, 1908, published in Engineering two days later, Roe explains that his propeller boss was a magnalium casting and the blades were of sheet magnalium, but adds: ‘‘Although this metal is slightly lighter than aluminium, and supposed to be nearly as strong as mild steel, my experience with it hardly proves this latter statement”.
Alliott Verdon Roe with this favourite forward-steering-plane 1907 model, powered by twisted strands of rubber.
One of the photographs taken by Cody at Alexandra Palace in April 1907, this shows Roe holding aloft his second-prize-winning model aircraft. The steeply sloping ground in the park made it difficult for the judges to determine whether a model was indeed making a sustained flight or merely a descending power-assisted glide.
A soldier samples the delights of Cody’s Glider Kite at Farnborough in 1905. The “ailerons” beneath the lower wing extremities are evident.