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Negative - John Duigan Flying his Tethered Wright-Type Glider, Spring Plains, Mia Mia, Victoria, 1909 Image Reg. No: MM 057538

One of only two surviving photographs of John Duigan's second glider built and flown at 'Spring Plains', Mia Mia, Victoria. The glider was based on a simplified half-scale version of the Wright Brothers 1906 Model A Flyer, with a wing span of 20 feet (6.1 m). Construction of the glider was commenced in late 1908, with the first flight made by John Duigan tethered to a length on fencing wire on a windy day in March 1909. John later reported that the facing into the wind the glider leapt into the air 'in a series of ups and downs' and 'in a strong blow [it] would lift two people'. It was, however, difficult to control pitching 'up and down far tooo rapidly to be comfortable' and was not stable enough for free flight. Within three months John had begun work on a new aircraft design that would be powered.

This photograph is the only one to show the glider actually in flight.
Description Of Content:
John Duigan at the controls of the Wright-type glider he built at 'Spring Plains' Station, Mia Mia, assisted by his brother Reg. They were inspired by reports of the flights of Wilbur Wright in France in late 1908. The glider is shown pitching upwards at a sharp angle of incidence, with the pilot and main wings less that 3 feet (1 metre) off the ground. The glider could only be flown tethered to a length of fencing wire and required a stong wind to achieve any lift. A second person wearing a hat is standing on the far side of the glider watching.
Discipline: Technology

More information

Tagged with: aeronautics, aviation, aviation pioneers, aircraft, experimental aircraft, pilots, gliders, test flights
Themes this item is part of: Designing & Building the First Australian Aircraft, John Duigan's Military Service, Centenary of Australian Aviation, John Robertson Duigan MC, Pioneering Aviator (1882-1951), Reginald Charles Duigan, Pioneering Aviator & Inventor (1888-1966), Engineering Collection, Transport Collection
Primary Classification: AIR TRANSPORT
Secondary Classification: Unpowered Aircraft
Tertiary Classification: rigid wing gliders
People Depicted: Duigan, John R.
Format: Negative: Black & White
Place & Date Depicted: Mia Mia, Victoria, Australia, circa 1909
Photographer: Mr Reginald Duigan, circa 1909
Maker of Item Depicted: Mr John Duigan, Mia Mia, Victoria, Australia, 1908-1909
  1. [Book], David Crotty - Museum Victoria Collections, Research & Exhibitions, A Flying Life: John Duigan & the First Australian Aeroplane, Museum Victoria, Melbourne, 2010, p.18 Pages

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