Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


SAMUEL F. CODY ENJOYED development work on his British Army Aeroplane No. 1. And I’ve enjoyed GMax/Microsoft Flight Simulator renderings of his developments. Here in Part 2, my sources expand and my modeling is back-dated to Cody’s 1908 first-to-fly-in-the-UK version.

This BAA No. 1 is in her first-U.K.-flight configuration. It actually took place at Farnborough. Here, Cody is buzzing the Brooklands Vickers works.

BAA No. 1 Variations Galore. For instance, several of Cody’s variations had ailerons mounted between the wings, à la Glenn Curtiss’ Reims Racer. I fitted ailerons to my initial BAA No. 1 rendering.

A YouTube posted by Change Before Going Productions shows a 1910 variant. (I love the young gal dangling from the elevator.)

A couple of variations, including the one in the video, placed the pilot ahead of the engine. This evoked a Cody comment: “I find my new position in front of the engine has a much more sensational effect on the nerves than the old position, in fact until last night I never knew I had any nerves.” On July 21, 1909, this particular BAA No. 1 completed a circular flight of four miles, quite an achievement.

That’s Brooklands Circuit ahead in this cockpit view. (Actually early aeroplanes didn’t really have cockpits per se.)

A Period Photo and Modern Reconstruction. Early in my research, I was puzzled by a period photo identified as the first U.K. flight.

According to Wikipedia and others, this shows “the first sustained flight in the U.K.”

Several features are noteworthy: Cody resides aft of the engine. There’s no biplane horizontal stabilizers located amidships. And note the odd six-sided rudder-like gizmo atop the upper wing.

Was this wing rudder fixed or a movable control surface? I also have a photo of a replica BAA No. 1 in the FAST Museum at England’s Farnborough Airfield.

“Replica of Aeroplane No. 1 as first flown at the FAST Museum.” Image by Tony Wood in Wikipedia.

FAST to the Rescue. Then I encountered a YouTube video posted by AirflowNZ. Docents at the Farnborough’s FAST Museum give a most illustrative walkaround of the replica BAA No. 1.

My latest iteration of Cody’s BAA No. 1. Noteworthy are those twin interplane radiators, that odd roll control atop the upper wing, and the engine’s starter handle.

I recognized that Cody’s first-U.K.-flight BAA No. 1 had no ailerons. But the video shows that the top-wing gizmo was indeed a lateral control surface. Also, elevator actuation is by control wire, unlike the 1909 variant I modeled which used a lengthy bamboo rod linked with the pilot’s control stick.

The Antoinette V-8 must have made one helluva racket.

And, actually, like many on early aeroplanes, this wasn’t a straightforward stick. The Cody’s two-axis control also has a rudder-actuating steering wheel; there’s no foot-actuated rudder bar.

I used to know how to make flags furl at rest and unfurl at speed, but it has been awhile…. Any work in progress is never truly completed. Sort of like Cody’s real BAA No. 1. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019

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