Visitors to Farnborough will be able to see the spot where the first manned and powered flight in Britain took off from, after a new marker was unveiled on Wednesday (June 29) on the site of the historic achievement.
Tracey Curtis-Taylor, also known as the 'bird in a biplane', unveiled the Cody First Flight Marker , in Farnborough Road, to commemorate the spot of the flight.
The community turned out in force on Wednesday to witness the unveiling of the £15,000 marker, which has been funded through grants from Rushmoor Borough Council , the Farnborough Airport Community Environmental Fund and a grant from Hampshire County Council through Farnborough South county councillor John Wall’s community fund.
Members of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust Museum, as well as members of the public were also invited to donate towards the fund .
With the replica of the British Army Aeroplane No 1A unveiled in 2008, the statue of Samuel Cody outside the FAST Museum, which was unveiled in 2013 , the marker completes a hat-trick of memorials to Farnborough’s place in British aviation history.
Tracey even had a go at piloting Cody’s plane on a simulator at the FAST Museum. She told Get Hampshire : “It was very hard - I crashed it.
“To be back here is brilliant. Cody was this magnificent man with his historic flying machine, he was wonderful in that regard and was a real pioneer of aviation.”
At the unveiling, the leader of Rushmoor Council, Councillor David Clifford, said the point of Cody’s takeoff was ‘hallowed turf’ in aviation history, and quoted Leonardo da Vinci, who said: “For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.”
Aldershot MP Sir Gerald Howarth said: “I congratulate Farnborough Air Sciences Trust and the Royal Aeronautical Society on their latest exciting initiative to mark Farnborough’s extraordinary heritage.
“The monument close to the point from which Samuel Cody first took flight in an heavy than air machine on October 16 1908 will serve as another fitting reminder of Farnborough’s unique aviation heritage.
“It was particularly appropriate that the memorial to the epic first flight by Cody should be unveiled by a modern aviation pioneer, Tracey Curtis Taylor, who began her epic flight to Australia in her Boeing Stearman bi-plane from Farnborough last year.”
Gwendolen Miller, 96, of Farnborough, was at the unveiling. Her father witnessed Cody’s first and last flights. She said: “My father was sat up on the hill where the aviation building is watching Cody make his last flight.
“When he crashed my father went over to see if he could help Cody and he came to his first flight as well.
“He used to come over and help Cody push his plane in and out as well.
“I think the man was very good. Its nice for the history of Farnborough to keep it going with the links to aviation.”
The FAST Museum is still accepting donations towards the monolith, anyone wishing to do so can click here or pick up a form at the museum.