Incident Samuel Cody British Army Aeroplane No.1 1,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 302287
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Date:Friday 16 October 1908
Type:Samuel Cody British Army Aeroplane No.1
Owner/operator:Samuel F Cody
Registration: 1
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Laffan's Plain, near Aldershot, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Laffan's Plain, near Aldershot, Hampshire
Destination airport:
16 October 1908 marked the first flight - and the first crash - in the UK of a 'heavier than air' powered flying machine. This machine was Samuel F. Cody's British Army Aeroplane Nº 1. After a period of ground testing, and a few short and low hops, it made its first flight on 16 October 1908. It flew under control at a height of about 30 feet for just under 1,400 feet at Laffan's Plain, near Aldershot, which is now part of Farnborough Airfield. Presumably those 1400 feet were in a straight line because things went wrong when Cody's aeroplane encountered an obstruction in its course. That obstruction was a group of trees. In his attempt to navigate around the trees, the wing tip of his aeroplane made contact with the ground and this caused it to crash and suffer substantial damage. Cody was uninjured. He spent the remainder of 1908 repairing and improving his aeroplane, which flew again in January 1909 - a flight that, again, ended in a crash when Cody tried to make a turn

The crash caused substantial damage, and the rest of the year was spent in repairing it and making major modifications. The gap between the wings was increased from 8 ft (2.44 m) to 9 ft (2.74 m), the booms carrying both sets of control surfaces lengthened, and provision for lateral control made by installing a wing-warping system and fitting differentially-moving surfaces at each end of the elevator. The radiators were moved to the aft interplane struts, the triangle of canvas that had stretched between the trailing edge of the upper wing and the top of the rudder was removed, and the small vertical stabiliser was moved from above the top wing to a position between the centre booms supporting the elevator, and linked to the rudder control. New larger propellers were fitted.

Originally Cody's aircraft was officially called the Army Aeroplane No. 1. After the War Office stopped supporting Cody's experiments, it was simply referred to as the Cody Flyer or the equivalent. After repairs, the aircraft continued to fly until at least October 1909.


1. Daily Mirror - Thursday 15 October 1908
2. Nottingham Evening Post - Thursday 15 October 1908
3. Lewis, P. British Aircraft 1809–1914. London, Putnam and Co., 1962
4. Gunston, Bill, OBE, "90 Years of UK Powered Flight", Air International, Stamford, Lincs, UK, November 1998, Volume 55, Number 5, page 306.
5. Globe - Friday 16 October 1908


Samuel Cody British Army Aeroplane No.1 after its first flight 16 October 1908 Cody Army Aeroplane No 1 after first flight RAE-O20

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