Various types of flying machines date back to the year 875, but historians generally credit Sir George Cayley with building the first airplane in 1804. Cayley’s plane is the first model to use fixed wings, and his writings formed the basis for further development of airplanes.
Cayley’s plane was actually a miniature glider that had a single wing and a movable tail connected by a universal joint and is the first record of a fixed-wing craft capable of flight. In 1809, Cayley built a full-sized version of his glider that flew short distances. He also published theories on lift and propulsion and continued to build experimental craft until his death in 1857. Other scientists attempted to mount engines and controls to flying machines over the next 50 years until the Wright brothers successfully built the first motorized machine capable of controlled, sustained flight.