the building of Skyranger G-TYGR in "The Build"
received BMAA approval to start building .
last updated 7 November 2004
you have any interest in aircraft or aviation, you will probably
have at some time dreamt of experiencing the freedom of flight.
Controlling an aircraft as it soars like a bird, amongst fluffy
white clouds in an otherwise clear blue sky. For most this seems
an impossible dream, but it doesn't have to be, it can be done
and it needn't cost a fortune. Read on to see how you could make
your dream come true. But first a bit of history, aviation has
recently celebrated its centenary and a lot has happened in those
first 100 years.
First Powered Flight
history (and probably long before that) man has dreamt of soaring
with the birds. For many years there had been various attempts at
flight using a variety of man and steam powered machines. These
attempts were all to prove unsuccessful and there were a number
of fatalities. However, this all changed on the morning of Thursday
17 December 1903. When, at Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
U.S.A. Orville Wright took to the air for 12 seconds in the Wright
Flyer - the world’s first true powered flight. Three more
attempts followed that day culminating in a flight in which Orville's
brother Wilbur stayed airborne for 59 seconds and covered a distance
of 260 metres.
the early days aircraft were simple low-tech machines built by enthusiastic
amateurs using materials such as wood and fabric. The Wright brothers
were after all only cycle mechanics. But things were soon to change
once aircraft found a place with the military during the First World
War. Both engines and airframes underwent rapid development as governments
poured in money. During the Second World War the importance of air
superiority quickly became clear and once again there were rapid
advances. By the end of the war piston engines had reached the peak
of their development and jets were beginning to take over. The Cold
War resulted in even greater advancements as governments raced to
keep the upper hand in aircraft performance. On 14 October 1947
less than 44 years after the Wright brothers had first taken to
the skies, Chuck Yeager succeeded in breaking the sound barrier.
The aircraft, an experimental rocket powered Bell X-1 was carried
up to 20,000 feet in the bomb bay of a B-29 before being released
as the B-29 dived. Following its release the X-1 was held in a dive
to gain speed before levelling off and igniting its four alcohol
/ liquid oxygen rockets. The flight took place over the Mojave Desert
in California and resulted in the first sonic boom. This was only
the beginning, by December 1953 Yeager reached Mach 2.44 in a Bell
X-1A. Speeds continued to rise and in September 1956 another test
pilot Milburn Apt was killed when his aircraft a Bell X-2 crashed
after setting a new record of Mach 3.2 (over 2000 mph)
rapid advancement in aviation technology has given us military aircraft
of phenomenal performance, to the point where it is the pilot who
is the limiting factor. It has also given us commercial aircraft
capable of carrying several hundreds of passengers. However all
this comes at a cost, the aircraft are extremely complex and expensive.
The nearest we mere mortals are likely to come to experiencing flight
is as a passenger aboard an airliner on a package tour to Spain
or Florida. Or is it! There is an alternative. Click below to discover
what a microlight is and how it could help you become airborne.
Click to find out how you could fly