An investigation into the life and work of Sir George Cayley

Four children, aided by presenter Joe Crowley, use a range of evidence to research the work of Sir George Cayley and his significant discovery into the principals and forces of flight. The children begin their hunt for clues in their hometown of Scarborough, where they see a plaque for Sir George Cayley, describing him as the 'father of aeronautics'. They then meet relatives of Cayley, at his old home and workshop in Brompton Hall.

The children travel to an air museum. An aeronautical engineer uses a simple hose and a piece of turned up paper to demonstrate how differing air pressure can cause things to be sucked up into the air. He goes on to explain how the wing of an aeroplane has the same effect. The children use an online video link to speak to Sir Richard Branson, who tells them he was involved in a project to recreate and fly Cayley's original glider.

The children see a full size replica of Cayley's glider at the air museum and are fascinated by its strange shape. Joe helps the children to grasp that the discovery and understanding of lift was crucial to the development of machines that could fly. The children realise that Sir George Cayley's achievement has been over-shadowed by the fame of the Wright Brothers, largely because they used an engine in their flying machine.

Release date: 26 Nov 2012

13 minutes

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