LOCAL PIONEERS, 1693 to 1912

Jessica Lofthouse records the tale of Moses Cocker, a farmer from Rivington (Chorley), who built a flying machine to fly from Rivington Pike, either in 1693 or after the tower was built in 1732. His first trial, from a barn roof, landed in the midden. Sadly no further details are given.
Samuel Cody (142 k)

Samuel Cody was a Wild West showman, performing cowboy stunts on stage, skilled horse-riding, roping and pistol shooting. He developed kites up to man-carrying standard, and flew a string of small kites from Blackpool sands in 1902, aiming to get the top kite close to the Tower. The manned kite was then slid up the cable using the lift from its wings, the nose-up attitude being adjustable by pulling on the rigging. He manufactured observation kites for the Army and Navy, then went on to make a free-flying biplane in 1905, launched by rope as a kite into a strong wind, then released to glide down to land. He trained many Army officers to fly this glider, surely the first ever gliding club. Powered aircraft were flown from 1907, and were quite successful. Cody was a true pioneer, but has been almost forgotten since his death in a flying accident in 1913.

 

Lancastrians were quick to try flying and Frederick Woods built a Wright type biplane glider at Fleetwood in 1910. It was taken to Knott End for attempts to fly, and that might be a catapult rope in the foreground of the picture. Newspaper records might exist.

 

Frederick Woods' Glider

 

John Leeming was at preparatory school in Birkdale, near Southport, and watched the pioneering efforts to fly powered aircraft from Freshfield sands. In 1910 he made a monoplane glider of span 20 feet out of bamboo and piano wire. He took it on to the sand dunes nearby, but his weight caused the wings to bend upwards alarmingly. His assistant, Alan Goodfellow was less heavy, and got airborne, but the glider was soon damaged by landing sideways. They made three more gliders, without real success, however they were contemporary with the Darmstadt schoolboys, and it must rate as a noble effort.

Both men went on to have leading careers in aviation. Leeming's fifth glider was the LPW, described separately, he went on to lead the Lancashire Aero Club into existence at Barton airfield, landed a biplane on Helvellyn summit, persuaded Manchester to build the first civic airfield at Barton, then founded an air taxi/cargo airline to give Barton some initial purpose. He wrote the first book of flying instruction for Private Pilots.

Alan Goodfellow learnt to fly at Hendon, flew in the RFC during WW 1, joined the Fleet Air Arm for WW 2 and ended as Commander (A), RNVR. He helped Leeming found Lancashire Aero Club, but preferred their gliding activities, and got B badge number 11 in 1930, helping to found the Derby & Lancs club at Camphill. He worked in aviation insurance at that time, and was active with the formation of BGA. At a dinner to honour Kronfeld in 1930 he toasted the visitors.

 

SOURCES.

Lofthouse "Lancashire Countrygoer" (page 179)
Pelham "Penguin Book of Kites" (pages 50 - 57, Samuel Cody.)
Lewis "British Aircraft 1809 - 1914" (Putnam)
Aspin "Dizzy Heights" (page 43)
Robinson "Aviation in Manchester" (page 18 & 52)
Sailplane & Glider, August 1944 "Alan Goodfellow - Vivatuary."
Sailplane & Gliding, June 1971 "Alan Goodfellow - Obituary."