Ludwig Wittgenstein and William Eccles at the kite-flying station in Glossop, England, (1908)
It is not generally known that the famous philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was an early researcher into the aerodynamics of flight. His first research post was at the University of Manchester (then known as Owens College) in the summer of 1908, when he moved to a kite-flying station at Glossop. In return for “constructing, sending up, and recovering the instrument-bearing kites” used for meteorological observation, he would get to use the equipment there for his own kite research..
The work at the station was arduous and continuous. Sometimes there would be eight or ten ascents a day until as late as nine or ten at night. The kites would be sent up as high as 5,000 feet (naturally this demanded a train of kites). Sometimes the kites would escape or come down and then a correspondingly long distance would have to be traversed over rough pathless heather moors to recover them.
The above photograph shows Wittgenstein with his close friend and mentor William Eccles and the instrument-bearing kite on the moors above Glossop in the summer of 1908.