Percy Pilcher’s Flying Machine

On 17 December 1903 the Wright Brothers completed the world’s first ever sustained powered flight, and secured their place in history. Yet it could be an altogether different name we remember today.  In 1899, a full four years before the Wrights, the leading British aviation pioneer Percy Pilcher had built a powered aircraft.

 

But by a cruel twist of fate Pilcher was denied the chance ever to fly his machine, and to this day, the mystery remains unresolved - would Percy Pilcher’s plane have flown?  This programme charts a unique attempt to answer that question by rebuilding his aircraft, and putting it to the test.

 
 

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