In aviation the term glider refers to an aerial ship heavier than air (aerodyne), which doesn’t have its own engine propulsion. Usually a glider consists of fuselage, wings, fins and tail-planes. First gliders had wings and fins with wooden beams and ribs covered with canvas, as well as simple wooden fuselage without elements protecting the pilot against unfavourable weather, or accident.
Otto Lilienthal (1848–1896) was a pioneer of gliding and designed numerous flying machines without engine propulsion, which resemble contemporary hang-gliders. He carried out over two thousand glides on his own gliders. He died during one of the flights. The experiments he conducted and their results became the basis for the development of not just gliding, but also aviation.
First Polish glider builder who had significant achievements in this field was Czesław Tański (1862–1942). In 1894 with the help of a local carpenter Tański started building a 20-kilogram glider he designed himself. It was a glider — ornithopter called “Lotnia”. The first version of the glider didn’t achieve the assumed results in jumps and soaring. The author of the glider himself would run against the wind, across a meadow, holding wings above his head, trying to soar in the air. Trials carried out by Tański were the first glider flights in Poland.
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