De Groof's flying machine, 19th century

De Groof's flying machine, 19th century

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: De Groof's flying machine. Coloured historical artwork of the flying machine of Belgian shoemaker Vincent De Groof (1831-1874), designed in 1864. A cross between a glider and a parachute, it was intended to be released from a balloon (top right). The wings and tail were operated by the aviator's arms, body weight and feet. De Groof's second flight, over London, England, on 29 July 1874, ended in disaster. Too high a descent speed, due to insufficient wing area, caused the wings to crumple upwards. The machine plummeted to the ground, killing De Groof instantly (see C023/4485). The balloon pilot, Joseph Simmons, died in a balloon crash in 1888.

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