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FAA - A History of Aircraft Structures Factoid for Sterling, AK
It was Cayley who first stacked wings and created a tri-wing glider that flew a man in 1853. Earlier, Cayley studied the center of gravity of flying machines, as well as the effects of wing dihedral. Furthermore, he pioneered directional control of aircraft by including the earliest form of a rudder on his gliders.
FAA - A Brief History of Aircraft Structures
The history of aircraft structures underlies the history of aviation in general. Advances in materials and processes used to construct aircraft have led to their evolution from simple wood truss structures to the sleek aerodynamic flying machines of today. Combined with continuous powerplant development, the structures of “flying machines” have changed significantly.