Diego Marín Aguilera

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Portrait of Diego Marin by Eulogia Merle Diego Marin Aguilera (MUNCYT, Eulogia Merle).jpg
Portrait of Diego Marín by Eulogia Merle
Coruna del Conde castle and plane commemorating aviation pioneer Diego Marin Aguilera Castillo De Coruna Del Conde.jpg
Coruña del Conde castle and plane commemorating aviation pioneer Diego Marín Aguilera

Diego Marín Aguilera (1757–1799) [1] [2] was a Spanish inventor who was an early aviation pioneer.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.


Early life

Born in Coruña del Conde, Marín became the head of his household after his father died and had to take care of his seven siblings. He worked as an agricultural laborer, tending his animals and fields. Marín spent long afternoons and days herding sheep in the surrounding fields. [1] [2]

Coruña del Conde Municipality and town in Castile and León, Spain

Coruña del Conde is a village and municipality in the province of Burgos, Castile and León Spain. The Arandilla River runs through it.


Early on, Marin devised several labor-saving devices, including a device that improved the functionality of a watermill on the Arandilla river; [3] one that improved the working of a fulling-mill; and another used to improve the cutting of marble in the quarries of Espejón. [1] He also came up with a device used to whip horses during the process of threshing, and another that made cloth pads. [1]

Watermill structure that uses a water wheel or turbine to drive a mechanical process

A watermill or water mill is a mill that uses hydropower. It is a structure that uses a water wheel or water turbine to drive a mechanical process such as milling (grinding), rolling, or hammering. Such processes are needed in the production of many material goods, including flour, lumber, paper, textiles, and many metal products. These watermills may comprise gristmills, sawmills, paper mills, textile mills, hammermills, trip hammering mills, rolling mills, wire drawing mills.

Fulling textile finishing process for woollen or worsted cloth that uses controlled shrinkage to produce a thicker, more compact fabric

Fulling, also known as tucking or walking, was a step in woollen clothmaking which involves the cleansing of cloth to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and to make it thicker. The worker who does the job is a fuller, tucker, or walker, all of which have become common surnames. The Welsh word for a fulling mill is pandy, which appears in many place-names, for example Tonypandy.

Marble non-foliated metamorphic rock commonly used for sculpture and as a building material

Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. Marble is typically not foliated, although there are exceptions. In geology, the term "marble" refers to metamorphosed limestone, but its use in stonemasonry more broadly encompasses unmetamorphosed limestone. Marble is commonly used for sculpture and as a building material.

Flying machine

Marín was inspired by the eagles he spotted while tending his animals and fields: he wanted to build a flying machine. For six years, he worked on one he invented. [2] The machine was built out of wood, iron, cloth, and feathers. [1] [3] He gathered eagle and vulture feathers by setting up special traps on which he placed rotting meat to attract these birds. [2]

Eagle large carnivore bird

Eagle is the common name for many large birds of prey of the family Accipitridae. Eagles belong to several groups of genera, not all of which are closely related. Most of the 60 species of eagle are from Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just 14 species can be found—2 in North America, 9 in Central and South America, and 3 in Australia.

Vulture common name for several types of scavenging birds of prey

A vulture is a scavenging bird of prey. The two types of vultures are the New World vultures, including the Californian and Andean condors, and the Old World vultures, including the birds that are seen scavenging on carcasses of dead animals on African plains. Some traditional Old World vultures are not closely related to the others, which is why the vultures are to be subdivided into three taxa rather than two. New World vultures are found in North and South America; Old World vultures are found in Europe, Africa, and Asia, meaning that between the two groups, vultures are found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.

Marín made calculations regarding the weight, volume, size, dimensions of the feathers, as well as the weight of the bodies of these birds. [2] He also carefully studied the movement of their wings and tail and, with the assistance of the local blacksmith, Joaquín Barbero, constructed a pair of wrought iron "joints" that moved about like a fan. He also built stirrups for his feet and hand-cranks that controlled the direction of the flying machine. [1]

Blacksmith person who creates wrought iron or steel products by forging, hammering, bending, and cutting

A blacksmith is a metalsmith who creates objects from wrought iron or steel by forging the metal, using tools to hammer, bend, and cut. Blacksmiths produce objects such as gates, grilles, railings, light fixtures, furniture, sculpture, tools, agricultural implements, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils and weapons.

Wrought iron iron alloy with a very low carbon content

Wrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon content in contrast to cast iron. It is a semi-fused mass of iron with fibrous slag inclusions, which gives it a "grain" resembling wood that is visible when it is etched or bent to the point of failure. Wrought iron is tough, malleable, ductile, corrosion-resistant and easily welded. Before the development of effective methods of steelmaking and the availability of large quantities of steel, wrought iron was the most common form of malleable iron. It was given the name wrought because it was hammered, rolled or otherwise worked while hot enough to expel molten slag. The modern functional equivalent of wrought iron is mild or low carbon steel. Neither wrought iron nor mild steel contain enough carbon to be hardenable by heating and quenching.

Attempted flight

On the night of May 15, 1793, [1] [2] [3] accompanied by the blacksmith Barbero and one of Marín's sisters, Marín placed his glider on the highest part of the castle of Coruña del Conde. In the light of the full moon, he remarked (roughly): "I'm going to Burgo de Osma, and from there to Soria, and I'll be back in a couple of days." [2]

Full moon lunar phase: completely illuminated disc

The full moon is the lunar phase when the Moon appears fully illuminated from Earth's perspective. This occurs when Earth is located between the Sun and the Moon. This means that the lunar hemisphere facing Earth – the near side – is completely sunlit and appears as a circular disk, while the far side is dark. The full moon occurs once roughly every month.

Burgo de Osma-Ciudad de Osma Municipality in Castile and León, Spain

Burgo de Osma-Ciudad de Osma is the third-largest municipality in the province of Soria, in the autonomous community of Castile and León, Spain. It has a population of about 5,250.

Soria Place in Castile and León, Spain

Soria is a municipality and a Spanish city, located on the Douro river in the east of the autonomous community of Castile and León and capital of the province of Soria. Its population is 38,881, 43.7% of the provincial population. The municipality has a surface area of 271,77 km2, with a density of 144.13 inhabitants/km2. Situated at about 1063 metres above sea level, Soria is the second highest provincial capital in Spain.

Flapping the wings of the glider, he reached a height of "six or seven varas " (approximately 5 or 6 m) and according to his companions, glided for "431 Castilian varas", [2] or approximately 300 [1] to 400 metres. [3] The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics writes that he flew for “about 360 meters.” [4] Marín managed to cross the river Arandilla and reached the area known as Heras, where he crash-landed after one of the metal joints broke. Fearing the worst, his companions ran to the spot. Marín was only scratched and bruised, but angry at the blacksmith for failing to weld the joint properly.[ citation needed ]

Death and legacy

Marín suffered further bad luck. The inhabitants of the town, believing him to be a lunatic, heretic, or a fraud, burned his "demonic" flapping-wing creation. [1] Marín lost all hope and, feeling disgraced and deeply depressed, [1] [3] never attempted flight again. He died at the age of 44 in his native town, [3] six years after his attempted flight. [2] Marín left no documentation regarding his inventions and he was buried at the local church.[ citation needed ]

Now called the “father of aviation” in Spain, the Spanish Air Force dedicated a monument to him that is located next to the castle where he took flight. [5] [6] The castle was offered for sale for 1 in 2002, on the condition that the buyer restore the crumbling building. [7]

Of Marín, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics writes: "It is impossible to determine how much truth there is to the story of Marín, but it seems that he did achieve some gliding flight, surviving after structural failure and a crash landing. Marín, who had no formal scientific education, was endowed with a special technical ingenuity and is a good example of the ageless human aspiration toward flight." [8] They credit him with a flight of approximately 360 meters.[ citation needed ]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Masa, Alejandro Polanco (January 18, 2006). "Diego Marín, el "hombre pájaro" burgalés" [Diego Marín, the "bird man" of Burgos]. Tecnologia Obsoleta. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Diego Marín Aguilera". El Soportal. Archived from the original on February 18, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2013.[ unreliable source? ]
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Garcés, Yagüe (January 19, 2010). "DIEGO MARÍN AGUILERA -El primer hombre que voló-" [Diego Marín Aguilera – The first man who flew]. Burgospedia. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  4. "American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics – History – Spain". Aiaa.org. April 22, 2019.
  5. c. "Coruña del Conde, Clunia, Diego Marín Aguilera". El Soportal. Archived from the original on February 18, 2012.[ unreliable source? ]
  6. "Photo of Coruña del Conde". Panoramio.
  7. "MEDIA REPORTS | Castle in Spain going for a song". BBC News. March 8, 2002.
  8. "Spain:History of Flight from Around the World". The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. May 14, 2014.

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