The Langley 'aerodrome' .
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Langley 'aerodrome' on the 'houseboat' launch platform on the Potomac 8/12/1903. Samuel Pierpoint Langley, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, had conducted gliding experiments through the latter part of the nineteenth century and, with a grant of $50,000 attempted to build a powered, manned aeroplane for military use. On the two launch attempts, piloted by Charles Manly, it plummetted into the Potomac River and discredited his efforts.