Sir George Cayley, the father of aerodynamics, invented the first glider. According to About.com, the very first model glider was smaller, controlled by the body and flown by an unknown boy. Over the next 50 years, Cayley made many improvements in size, shape and design to his gliders.
George Cayley is also credited with the first man-carrying glider flight in 1853, when his coachmen flew his glider across Brompton Dale in England. This event happened 50 years prior to the Wright Brothers and their first powered flight at Kitty Hawk. The hot air balloon made it into the air before the glider, the first manned flight happening on Nov. 21, 1783.