Born on 16th of January 1866
Died on 2nd of October 1899
After a short naval career and apprenticeship in a Govan shipyard Percy Pilcher worked as a junior lecturer at Glasgow University. Interest in aviation saw Pilcher build and fly ‘The Bat’, a hang-glider, following that design with others, the most advanced, The Hawk, allowing him to fly 250m in 1897. Pilcher designed and funded a powered triplane, but on the day intended for its first public flight a broken engine component led him instead to fly The Hawk. Pilcher was fatally injured when its tail broke in flight, the triplane project dying with him. In 2003 Cranfield University aeronautics experts tested his rediscovered designs, which performed better than the Wright Brothers’ Kitty Hawk. What might have been.
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