View Full Version : First wheeled airplane?

22nd Feb 2010, 20:40
What was the first airplane with wheels that allowed it to take off without the aid of a Wright-type catapult or ramp? Anybody know? I don't (obviously).

22nd Feb 2010, 21:32
G'day mate! You're probably thinking of one that made a more substantial flight rather than a "hop-flight" but I'll take a crack with the Adler Eole. I count four wheels...

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/5692/adlerv.jpg (http://img59.imageshack.us/i/adlerv.jpg/)


tail wheel
22nd Feb 2010, 21:51
Richard Pearce's flying machine, which first flew on 31 March 1903?


22nd Feb 2010, 23:13
Agree with Pearse's being the first, though his ~900 metre flight including a turn or two on the 11th of May 1903 was certainly a better effort.

23rd Feb 2010, 07:39
Its got to be Sir George Cayley's gliders.
In attempting to get the weight of his craft down he had to invent the tensioned wire spoked wheel, thereby accidentally improving the concept of the bicycle. :ok:

tail wheel
24th Feb 2010, 05:52
From stepwilk's post:
What was the first airplane with wheels...

I suspect he is referring to powered, pilot controlled flight. If he is including tethered craft and gliders I'm sure someone put wheels on a "heavier than air" machine far earlier.

I'm sure Sir George would be amongst the first - much to the disgust of his coachman/pilot, if memory serves me correctly! :}

Interesting that the Adler Eole (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ader_%C3%89ole) took off under it's own power in 1890. That even predates Richard Pearce by thirteen years. I wonder how he managed to put a 20 HP four cylinder steam engine in an aircraft and still have an empty weight under 500 pounds?

The "first flight rules" appear to have been developed to suit a specific, far later event. "Taking off under it's own power" and "a pilot exercising reasonable control" should be fundamental to defining the true first flight of an aircraft.

Load Toad
24th Feb 2010, 07:51
Richard Pearce's flying machine, which first flew on 31 March 1903?

I think you'll find - that's cheating.

longer ron
27th Feb 2010, 05:44
I think you'll find - that's cheating. It could be called something else LOL
I would agree with Cayley

Super Cecil
27th Feb 2010, 08:27
All I could find is more an airsander rather than an airplane but it has wheels

27th Feb 2010, 16:31
Glenn Curtiss's June Bug had tricycle langing gear.

It first flew on July 4, 1908 in what was the 1st public display of an airplane in the United States.

Not sure if it was the very first in the world.............

1st Mar 2010, 17:28
Well, Santos Dumont flew on October 23 1906 in an aeroplane with wheels. It scored a number of firsts, so maybe first wheeled aircraft, too? Though there is, obviously, a problem with the definition of "fly."

2nd Mar 2010, 00:44
*points above to the previous two posts*

Miss post #4?
~900 metres, took off under own power, made a turn or two, wheeled aeroplane, 1903.

2nd Mar 2010, 08:30
No, didn't miss it, but thought that as the discussion was continuing, the unfortunately incomplete documentation of Pearse's activities meant the search was continuing--maybe for a machine a bit closer to the mainstream.

2nd Mar 2010, 23:37
Well, I've decided Bleriot's XI. So sue me. Like a modern-day Cessna, it took off on its own, made a cross-country--cross-Channel--flight and landed. If Bleriot had been braver than I am, he'd have been able to gas up and go back to France. Like a Cessna, eh?