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Le Prieur-Aihara Glider
Daiichi Senior High School Glider


An earlier glider had been designed by Le Prieur based on a drawing from a French pamphlet. But when a test flight failed, Le Prieur turned to his friend Aibara for assistance, and Aibara brought in Tanakadate, an aviation pioneer in his own right, to help with the design.
The glider was developed by Yves Le Prieur, a military attache at the French Embassy in Tokyo, Lieutenant Shiro Aibara of the Japanese Navy, and Professor Aikitsu Tanakadate of Tokyo Imperial University’s School of Science, now the University’s Faculty of Science (at the time the University of Tokyo was named Tokyo Imperial University). Also known as the Aihara-Le Prieur, built by Japanese Lieutenant Shiro Aihara and French 2nd Lieutenant Le Prieur using bamboo for the structure.
The team first planned to use an automobile to pull the glider, but on the day of the trial the car broke down and didn’t make it to the test site. Instead they put a small boy aboard and a group of students pulled on the cable attached to the craft.
On the morning of December 5, 1909, a bamboo-framed and white cloth-covered glider was hauled onto the Daiichi Senior High School’s athletic field, Ueno Park, Toyko, today a part of the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Agriculture on the Yayoi campus. A large number of students took hold of a rope attached to the glider, and then ran as fast as they could, pulling the glider behind them. Soon, spectators witnessed the craft, with a boy aboard, ascend slowly and fly at a height of 3.6 meters for a distance of some 15 meters before drifting down to a smooth landing. “
This was apparently the first, though unofficial, glider flight in Japan, and it represents the very beginning of airplane research.
In the subsequent December 9 test flight, piloted by Le Prieur himself, a car was used, which drove along a street near Shinobazu Pond, Tokyo, towing the glider. This was the first certified fixed-wing aircraft flight in Japan.






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