Biplane glider replica
Heavier than air
This is a replica of the biplane glider used in a series of flights on 5 December 1909, at Narrabeen Beach, Sydney, and recorded as the first successful heavier-than-air flight in Australia.
Pioneering aviator George Augustine Taylor
During the early 20th century, Australia's pioneer aviators made improvements to balloon and kit technology in the hope of developing powered aircraft. George Augustine Taylor established an aeroplane factory in Sydney's Surry Hills in September 1909. His factory constructed kites for military purposes, and experimented with manned gliders and a powered monoplane.
Taylor modelled his glider on kites made by inventor Lawrence Hargrave in the 1890s. Throughout December 1909 and January 1910, Taylor, his wife Florence, and other friends and associates, made many flights on it – the longest more than 100 metres – before the aircraft was destroyed in a crash. As founder of the Australian Aerial League, Taylor used the flights to promote military and civil applications for aviation. His pronouncements were often coloured with a nationalistic fervour, citing the important advances made by Australians in the field. Taylor was a man of many passions and diverse occupations, including town planning, cartooning and writing science fiction, publishing, radio broadcasting and telephony, and the development of television.
Celebrating Australian aviation history
To mark the centenary of Taylor's 1909 flight, the Australian Gliding Museum built three full-sized replicas of Taylor's biplane glider, including the one displayed in the Museum's Hall. Based on plans drawn by aeronautical engineer David Craddock, the gliders were constructed by volunteers, most of whom are retired aviation industry professionals. Materials used were as close as possible to those of Taylor’s original: epoxy-lacquered hoop pine and ash, cellulose nitrate doped cotton fabric, nickel-plated bicycle spokes, steel wire and brackets, copper fasteners and modern aviation-grade steel bolts.
The biplane glider replica is currently on show in the Hall at the National Museum of Australia.