|EPERIMENTAL||Virtual Aircraft Museum / United Kingdom / Philips|
British inventor Horatio Phillips advanced the science of aerodynamics in the 1880s with his careful study of airfoil surfaces. Unfortunately, in his aerial experiments he concentrated on airfoils - as many as possible, it would seem - to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. From 1893 he produced a variety of 'multiplanes', beginning with a 50-wing coal-fired machine that predictably failed to become airborne. The slightly more conventional (20-wing) actually achieved one hop of 15m, but in 1907 he returned to a version of the 1893 machine with a petrol engine. Some sources say this made a straight-line flight of 152m, which would have been the first powered flight in Britain. If so, it didn't inspire Phillips to greater heights, as he gave up at this point, having spent GBP4000, mainly on wings.