Aviation Pioneers

Who is Diego Marín Aguilera?

Diego Marín Aguilera (1757-1799) was a Spanish inventor who was an early aviation pioneer. He is best known for his attempts to build a flying machine, which he called the Pájaro Mecánico (Mechanical Bird).

Marín was born in Coruña del Conde, Burgos, Spain. He was the eldest of eight children, and his father died when he was young. As a result, Marín had to take charge of his family and work hard to earn a living. He worked as an agricultural laborer, tending his animals and fields.

In his spare time, Marín was fascinated by the flight of birds. He spent many hours watching them soar through the sky, and he dreamed of one day building a machine that would allow him to fly too.

Who is Diego Marín Aguilera?

In the 1780s, Marín began working on his flying machine. He made it out of wood and feathers, and he powered it with a system of pedals. After several years of work, Marín’s flying machine was finally complete.

On May 15, 1793, Marín made his first attempt to fly his machine. He climbed aboard and began pedaling. The machine took off, but it only flew for a short distance before it crashed. Marín was injured in the crash, but he was not seriously hurt.

Marín made several more attempts to fly his machine, but he was never able to achieve sustained flight. In 1799, Marín died of pneumonia at the age of 42.

Despite his failure to achieve sustained flight, Marín is considered to be one of the pioneers of aviation. His work on the Pájaro Mecánico helped to pave the way for the development of the first successful airplanes.

Marín’s story is also a reminder that even the most humble of people can achieve great things if they set their minds to it. Marín was a shepherd with no formal education, but he was able to design and build a flying machine that was ahead of its time.


  • Wikipedia: Diego Marín Aguilera
  • DMG Lib: Marin Aguilera, Diego (1757 – 1799)
  • Reddit: TIL: In 1793, Diego Marín Aguilera flapped the wings of his man-powered glider, reached a height of about 5m and flew over 300m before crashing because of a broken metal joint. The inhabitants of the town believed him a lunatic, heretic, or a fraud, and burned his “demonic” flapping-wing creation – Reddit
  • Fotocasa: Premises to rent in Diego Marín Aguilera, 1, Centro, Burgos | fotocasa – Fotocasa.es

Image source: By Eulogia Merle – Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37026485