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20th Century Pterodactyl — Westland–Hill Pterodactyl spinless airplane

5 March 2014

20th Century Pterodactyl — Westland–Hill Pterodactyl spinless airplane

Westland–Hill Pterodactyl — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Westland–Hill Pterodactyl early model — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Pterosaurs (also known as pterodactyls) flew in the Mesozoic Era for quite a long time — from 228 million years ago to just 66 million years ago prior to their extinction. Much later, in the 20th Century, the name would be brought active flight by aeronautical designer Geoffrey Hill who worked on a tailless aircraft design, inspired by his observations of seagulls flying, in the 1920s and 1930s to produce an aircraft which could not be spun by its pilot — what was considered a leading cause of aviation related fatalities in his day. As the design progressed he merged with the larger Westland Aircraft but the Pterodactyl did not come to commercial success though tailless designs would be produced in the near and far future.

Westland–Hill Pterodactyl — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Westland–Hill Pterodactyl later version — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Westland–Hill Pterodactyl — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Westland–Hill Pterodactyl later version — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Westland–Hill Pterodactyl — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Westland–Hill Pterodactyl Mk V — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

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