In his lifetime, Sir George Cayley (1773-1857) published just a few papers on the subject of aeronautics and many of his ideas are explored in five illustrated manuscript notebooks which were presented on permanent loan to the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1946 by Cayley's grandson Sir Kenelm Cayley.

The Society's Journal recorded at that time: "These notebooks and papers are unique in the history of aviation" and we are delighted to now be able to make them available though this site.


Volume five of Sir George Cayley's notebooks contains description, illustration and discussion of various subjects including:

  • an experimental apparatus for testing the breaking point of a wooden plane and a study of the forces acting on a lifting plane
  • movement up an incline
  • movement of umbrellas through the air
  • perpendicular forces
  • power versus angle versus velocity
  • experiments with chemicals
  • resistive and friction effects
  • fibrous woods


 1795 (approx.)

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 Sir George Cayley

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