Alexander Graham Bell is famous for inventing the telephone, but he was also very interested in flight.
He started with kites, pulling them along with a steamboat on the Bras D’Or Lake. He was successful in having one stay in the air for seven minutes before it crashed into the lake and was destroyed.
He next tried gliders and eventually someone had the idea of putting an engine on a glider. It took a while to perfect the ability to control the direction of the plane but each time improvements were made.
The Silver Dart was the fourth plane built under the guidance of Mr. Bell, and included all the improvements that had been discovered: adjustable flaps in the wings, a water-cooled engine and a special silvery coating to waterproof the wings. It was successfully flown in New York and then taken apart and brought to Baddeck in Nova Scotia.
On the 23rd of February, 1909, the Silver Dart, piloted by John McCurdy rose into the air over Bras D’Or Lake and flew for half a mile before landing safely. It was the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to fly in Canada.
Alexander Graham Bell was also involved in the first planes to be designed, built and flown in Canada. They were designed by John McCurdy and Frederick Baldwin, and built in Bell’s laboratory. They were called the Baddeck 1 and Baddeck 2.
We will be reading some of the books from the Canadian Flyer series for our History lessons either as a read-aloud or independently. The one for this week is called “Flying High”.
Activity: Make your own paper airplane: Instructions