British Civil Aviation in 1909

Shellbeach, on the Isle of Sheppey, becomes the United Kingdom’s first proper aerodrome.

Eustace Short reaches an agreement with Wilbur Wright to build six Wright aircraft under licence in Britain. The Short Brothers become the first to manufacture aircraft in series, rather than individual aircraft.

23 February
J.A.D. McCurdy flies the Aerial Experimental Association’s Silver Dart over Baddock Bay in Nova Scotia, Canada. This is the first aeroplane flight in Canada and the first sustained flight in the British Empire.

30 April
J.T.C. Moore Brabazon (later Lord Brabazon of Tara) makes the first accredited aeroplane flight by an Englishman in England. He flies his Voisin biplane over a distance of about 137 metres (450 feet) at Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey.

13 July
Alliot Verdon Roe becomes the first Briton to fly in a British aeroplane. He covers a distance of 30 metres (100 feet) in his own triplane at Lea Marshes in Essex.

19 July
Englishman Hubert Latham attempts to fly the English Channel by aeroplane, but has to ditch his Antoinette IV due to engine trouble.

25 July
A Frenchman, Louis Blériot, becomes the first man to fly across the English Channel by aeroplane. Flying his Blériot Type XI, he takes off from Les Baraques near Calias at 0441hrs and lands at Northfall Meadow next to Dover Castle 36½ minutes later. Blériot wins the Daily Mail £1,000 prize.

8 September
Samuel Cody makes the first flight of more than 1 hour in the United Kingdom.

15 October
The first British aviation meeting begins at Doncaster.

30 October
J.T.C. Moore Brabazon (later Lord Brabazon of Tara) becomes first Briton to fly further than a mile in a British aeroplane and wins the Daily Mail’s £1,000 prize.

3 November
The first air-speed indicator is patented by Alec Ogilvie and fitted to his Short-Wright biplane at Rye in Sussex.

The first flight of Geoffrey de Havilland’s first aeroplane.

Also this year…
The first edition of Jane’s ‘All the World’s Aircraft’ is published, with Fred T. Jane as the first editor.