Farnborough has close and continuous associations with man’s conquest of flight.
Located on the south-west edge of Farnborough, the airport and airfield dominates the town both physically and historically.
Now home to one of the most modern and efficient business aviation airports in Europe, Farnborough has a long history of pioneering and developing powered flight.
Research into flight began with the establishment of His Majesty’s Balloon Factory in Farnborough in 1908, where American expatriate Samuel Cody created his famous "man-lifting" box kites, and worked on airships.
Cody achieved the first heavier-than-air flight in Britain on Farnborough Common on 16th October 1908, marking the birth of aircraft development in England.
Renamed the Royal Aircraft Factory in 1911, the outbreak of World War I in the summer of 1914 brought a sharp focus to research and development at Farnborough.
The Scout Experimental 5 (S.E.5) was the most successful of all aeroplanes designed at the Royal Aircraft Factory, and is an enduring symbol of the aerial combat of World War I.
An excellent gunnery platform and stable to fly, it was flown by many of the flying aces of World War I, such as James McCudden - the most highly decorated British Empire pilot of World War I.
Aircraft like the S.E.5, designed and tested in Farnborough, changed the shape of war forever: aerial attacks, bombardments and reconnaissance of enemy positions became a crucial part of modern warfare.
Although aircraft design and development largely ended after World War I, Farnborough still played an important role in the development of supporting aviation technology, such as missiles, rockets and satellites.
Now known as the Royal Aerospace Establishment, it is home today to QinetiQ (a commercial defence technology agency), the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the UK Space Agency.