Langley Aerodrome A

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Langley Aerodrome A

    Piloted tandem-wing experimental aircraft built and unsuccessfully tested by Samuel P. Langley in 1903. Fifty-two-horsepower, five-cylinder radial gasoline engine turning two pusher propellers via geared transmission system. Percaline covering. Natural fabric finish; no sealant or paint of any kind.

    1 of 6

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Langley Aerodrome A

    Piloted tandem-wing experimental aircraft built and unsuccessfully tested by Samuel P. Langley in 1903. Fifty-two-horsepower, five-cylinder radial gasoline engine turning two pusher propellers via geared transmission system. Percaline covering. Natural fabric finish; no sealant or paint of any kind.

    2 of 6

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Langley Aerodrome A

    Piloted tandem-wing experimental aircraft built and unsuccessfully tested by Samuel P. Langley in 1903. Fifty-two-horsepower, five-cylinder radial gasoline engine turning two pusher propellers via geared transmission system. Percaline covering. Natural fabric finish; no sealant or paint of any kind.

    3 of 6

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Langley Aerodrome A

    Piloted tandem-wing experimental aircraft built and unsuccessfully tested by Samuel P. Langley in 1903. Fifty-two-horsepower, five-cylinder radial gasoline engine turning two pusher propellers via geared transmission system. Percaline covering. Natural fabric finish; no sealant or paint of any kind.

    4 of 6

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Langley Aerodrome A

    Piloted tandem-wing experimental aircraft built and unsuccessfully tested by Samuel P. Langley in 1903. Fifty-two-horsepower, five-cylinder radial gasoline engine turning two pusher propellers via geared transmission system. Percaline covering. Natural fabric finish; no sealant or paint of any kind.

    5 of 6

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Langley Aerodrome A

    Piloted tandem-wing experimental aircraft built and unsuccessfully tested by Samuel P. Langley in 1903. Fifty-two-horsepower, five-cylinder radial gasoline engine turning two pusher propellers via geared transmission system. Percaline covering. Natural fabric finish; no sealant or paint of any kind.

    6 of 6

Samuel Langley's successful flights of his model Aerodromes Number 5 and Number 6 in 1896 led to plans to build a full-sized, human-carrying airplane. Langley's simple approach was merely to scale up the unpiloted Aerodromes to human-carrying proportions. This would prove to be a grave error, as the aerodynamics, structural design, and control system of the smaller aircraft were not adaptable to a full-sized version. Langley's primary focus was the power plant. The completed engine, a water-cooled five-cylinder radial that generated a remarkable 52.4 horsepower, was a great achievement for the time.

Despite the excellent engine, the Aerodrome A, as it was called, met with disastrous results, crashing on takeoff on October 7, 1903, and again on December 8. Langley blamed the launch mechanism. While this was in some small measure true, there is no denying that the Aerodrome A was an overly complex, structurally weak, aerodynamically unsound aircraft. This second crash ended Langley's aeronautical work entirely.