Air Enthusiast 1999-07
P.Jarrett - Cody and his Aeroplanes
Samuel Cody's first biplane, known as British Army Aeroplane No 1. It underwent various modifications during its existence, this photograph shows it as it was in October 1908. On the 16th of that month it made what is recognised as the first properly sustained flight by an aeroplane in Britain.
The ‘Cody 1C’, August, 1909, with the top rudder relocated over the foreplanes and the pilot positioned in front of a 60/80hp (44/59kW) French-built ENV engine.
Following the crash at the end of its first flight, BAA No.1 was rebuilt and considerably modified, emerging as the ‘Cody 1B’ in January 1909. Note the old top rudder repositioned behind the foreplanes, and the streamers attached to the wings to make the airflow visible.
In this study of British Army Aeroplane No.1 undergoing modification in late 1908, the Wright-type glider can be seen suspended from the roof in the centre of the picture.
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.
British Army Aeroplane No.l approaching completion but still awaiting its 50hp (37kW) Antoinette engine, in its preliminary form at Farnborough in the first half of 1908.
Undated early sketch designs by Cody for a powered aeroplane.
Built for the 1912 Military Aeroplane Trials, Cody’s only monoplane was a singular design with celluloid panels in the fuselage sides by the cockpit. It was destroyed when it crashed into a cow on July 8, before the event; the cow was killed and Cody had to reimburse the farmer.
A graphic demonstration of stability; George Broomfield stands 10ft (3m) out on the Michelin Cup biplane’s port wing, holding on to the front innermost interplane strut.
Cody takes off from a staging point, possibly in the Worcester and Pershore area, during the Circuit of Britain.
Cody flying his resurrected Circuit of Britain aeroplane before the King during the sovereign’s visit to Aldershot on May 16 and 17, 1912.
The machine destined to become the Michelin Cup biplane in its first form, at Farnborough, in June, 1910. Only one of the intended two 60hp (44kW) Green engines is installed, though the bed for the other is discernible.
This portrait of Cody was taken at Hendon, probably in mid-1912. The safety helmet he is wearing was sold by Gamages, a large department store in Holborn, London, and featured thick felt padding.
On January 27, 1912, using his old Michelin Cup biplane fitted with the twin rudders from his Circuit of Britain machine, Cody became the first pilot in Britain to carry four passengers; everybody had seats of the kind usually associated with agricultural machinery.
It is possible that unmanned free flights were made by the curious ‘power kite’ of 1907, which had a 12hp (9kW) Buchet engine.
The enigmatic Cody Wright-type glider/kite under test, circa 1907/1908.
In this study of British Army Aeroplane No.1 undergoing modification in late 1908, the Wright-type glider can be seen suspended from the roof in the centre of the picture.
Several Royal Engineers made flights in Cody’s biplane glider-kite of 1905, in which they lay prone on the lower centre section and were towed into the air, then released to glide down.
Cody at the helm of his Waterplane, accompanied by two RAMC orderlies and the case containing the collapsible field operating table and medical appliances.
Although it won the military trials, Cody’s rapidly-built biplane was not what the military wanted, and only one more was ordered. This, the second example, was given the military serial 304 and delivered to the RFC in February 1913. Wrecked the following month, it was handed over to the Science Museum, London, in November 1913.
A close-up of the powerplant installation of the military trials biplane.
The Waterplane undergoes flotation tests on the Basingstoke canal near Laffan’s Plain late in July. A week later the machine was a wreck and Cody was dead.
Cody did very little flying at the Doncaster Aviation Meeting in October, 1909, but here he is seen having a bit of fun with the hopelessly unflyable Mines biplane, which was cruelly nicknamed the ‘coffee-stall’. His fellow conspirator is unidentified.