World Helicopter Day – On Aerial Navigation

share this

I have just noticed that 20 August is World Helicopter Day, and on a recent visit to the helicopter museum in Weston-Super-Mare (the World's Largest Dedicated Helicopter Museum) with my father, a former helicopter engineer, I spotted a reference to the three papers by Sir George Cayley in Nicholson’s Journal.

‘On Aerial Navigation’ was published in three parts:

Nicholson’s Journal, November 1809

Nicholson’s Journal, February and March 1810

I have since seen this described online, by Mississippi State University, as:

"Arguably the most important paper in the invention of the airplane is a triple paper On Aerial Navigation by Sir George Cayley. The article appeared in three issues of Nicholson's Journal. In this paper, Cayley argues against the ornithopter model and outlines a fixed-wing aircraft that incorporates a separate system for propulsion and a tail to assist in the control of the airplane. Both ideas were crucial breakthroughs necessary to break out of the ornithopter tradition."

This sketch from the November 1809 paper.

Cayley helicopter design nicholson journal - november 1809

If any historians of aeronautic developments would like tocontribute a guest blog on the significance of Cayley’s papers, please email us at

info@nicholsonsjournal.com.

#12

21stC readers of Nicholson's Journal 16,415

Subscribe to RSS

Archives

2017
2016

The biography of William Nicholson 1753–1815

Exploring the life and publications
of William Nicholson 1753-1815