Samuel Pierpoint Langley's 'aerodrome', 1903.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model (scale 1:10). The full-size aerodrome, with a wing span of 48 ft (16m) and powered by a 52 hp engine, was completed in 1903, and two attempts were made by Charles Manly to pilot it over the Potomac River in Washington DC that same year. On both occasions the aeroplane fouled the launcher and dropped into the river. The aerodrome was powered by a Manly-Balzer engine, the first petrol engine to be designed specifically for a full-sized aeroplane, a remarkable achievement. After Manly had altered and refined the rotary design of Balzer, the original engine builder, it provided 52 hp.