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BY HAROLD S. LYNN
LESS than eight years ago, the aëroplane was unknown except to a few men who were conducting experiments in secluded parts of the country. The aéroplane is an American product, having been demonstrated as practicable by the Wright brothers, when others were just awakening to the possibilities of such machines. The Frenchmen have taken hold of this new invention in their usual way, and have progressed so rapidly in the art and science of mechanical flight, that they are several years in advance of us at present. There are three different types of flying-machines, the ornithopter, the helicopter, and the aéroplane. The ornithopter is a type modeled after the birds, and was designed to fly by flapping or beating wings. Numerous inventors have tried this theory, but failed to accomplish anything of importance. The helicopter was designed to lift vertically into the air by means of propellers. There is a strong belief that the principle of the helicopter is correct, but, up to the present time, nothing has been achieved in that
direction, the aëroplane being the only type that has been successful as yet. Under the general name aéroplane, we have the monoplane, the biplane, the triplane, and the multiplane. The monoplane consists of one set of planes, or wings, and resembles the bird in shape and design, while the biplane follows the lines of the old box-kite, and is made up of two planes, or curved surfaces, placed one above the other. Adding another plane above the biplane, we have a triplane. A machine consisting of more than three planes arranged in this way, we call a multiplane, as shown on page 984. Machines of the triplane and multiplane types have flown, but have proved very unsatisfactory and difficult to control while in the air. An aeroplane consists of one or more curved surfaces so placed as to obtain the greatest amount of entering edge, a body, or frame-work, a vertical and horizontal rudder, ailerons, or wing-warping devices for maintaining lateral balance, and last, but not least, the vital part, the motor and propeller, which drives or pulls it on its course. The motor is usually placed in the forward part of a monoplane, so that the propeller pulls the machine through the air; while in the biplane it is set in the rear, where the propeller pushes the machine. An aeroplane is made of wood, bamboo, steel tubing, wire, cloth, and light metal castings and fastenings. The planes are made of curved ribs, braced and held together by wooden beams and fine cable. These planes, or wings, are then covered on one or both sides with silk or canvas especially prepared or treated with rubber or a similar substance. All wires or cables are fitted with small turnbuckles to enable a person to wire the machine “true” and hold it rigid in that position. Cut or loosen the wires in an aéroplane, and it would be useless, so you can appreciate the value of this small item. America has produced two successful aeroplanes—the Wright and the Curtiss–both of which are biplanes. France is apparently partial to the monoplane, having produced numerous types that have met with brilliant success. Foremost of her airmen was Bleriot, who, in 1909, was the first to succeed in making an aeroplane crossing of the English Channel, a distance of twentytwo miles. He used a monoplane of his own
A Wrio HT Bi PLANE IN FLIGHT (NEw TYPE). Showing the vertical and horizontal rudder in the rear.
much steadier flier than the biplane, owing to its decreased head-resistance. Many aviators also claim that the former is easier to handle and control during flight. Designers and builders are constantly making changes in their measurements, and placement of controls, so that it is difficult to keep pace with
make. This feat was considered wonderful at that time, although it has been repeated frequently since. The monoplane is very speedy, and is a
them. The rudder used for steering the biplane up or down (a horizontal rudder) was originally
placed forward of the main planes, but builders
are gradually doing away with this, and placing so that when be desires to turn to right or left, it in the rear, together with the vertical rudder. during flight, all that is necessary is to turn the wheel in the required direction. You will note in the illustration that a steel frame fits about the aviator's shoulders and is fastened to the seat. This is what we term the aileron control for maintaining lateral stability. These ailerons, two in number, are about the same shape and size as the front elevator, or rudder; and they are hinged, one at each end, to the rear outer upright or post. They are wired to the shoulder control in such a way that when the man leans to one side or the other, they work in the opposite direction. “Lateral stability” means keeping the machine from tipping sidewise, and in even balance. When the machine is ready for flight, the engine is A machine without forward controls is termed a cranked by pulling down the propeller, which headless-flier. The Curtiss machine embodies the also acts as a fly-wheel. This propeller turns simplest and yet most natural control that has been produced. The latest Curtiss machine, such as is furnished the United States Army, is small, compact, and swift. It weighs less than seven hundred pounds complete. The planes are double surface, that is, they are covered on both sides, whereas the old type was covered on top only, thus exposing the ribs and beams, and causing more resistance. The operator's seat is placed just forward of the lower plane, and, in front of this, is a vertical steering-post and wheel. A short bamboo pole connects the wheel with the - - front elevator (horizontal A wright BIPLANE (old type). rudder), and by pulling this Showing the controlling levers, and position of the motor, radiator, and propellers. wheel backward or pushing it forward, the operator may ascend or descend. from 1800 to 2000 revolutions per minute, and A small cable fits in a groove around the wheel pushes against the air just as a small propeller and runs back to the vertical rudder at the rear, on a boat pushes against the water. This mo
tion first propels the machine over the ground, and when it has attained a speed of twenty-five or thirty miles an hour, the operator pulls the wheel toward him, thus elevating the front rudder, and the machine gradually sails upward. When he has climbed to a suitable height, he slowly pushes the wheel from him, until the machine acquires a horizontal line of flight. If struck by a slight air-current on the side, it will cause the machine to tilt in a dangerous manner. To overcome this, the aviator leans in the opposite direction from that in which the machine is tipping, this action arranging the ailerons so that the one on the low side tilts up, causing that side to rise, and the one on the high side tilts down, causing that side to lower. When he is ready to descend, he pushes the wheel away from him, tilting the elevator downward, and the machine then swoops earthward. When within several feet of the ground, he brings it back level by elevating the front control, and shuts off his motor. This causes the machine to gradually skim over the ground until stopped by the wheel-brake—and the flight is over. We now come to the Wright machine, but as we have found out the principal parts, its description will not take so much space. The Wright machine, unlike any other, uses two propellers turning in opposite directions, which make only
four hundred revolutions per minute. They are, however, capable of driving this machine (which is considerably larger than the Curtiss) through the air at the rate of forty-five miles per hour. The planes are double surface, and heavier and thicker than those of the Curtiss machine. You will note in one of the illustrations that the controls differ considerably from that of the Curtiss. In place of a steering-post and wheel, they use two levers. The machine is equipped with three levers, but the two outer ones are duplicates, one being used when instructing pupils to fly. The Wrights were the originators of a most novel and effective control. The lever shown in the center performs a compound duty,+first, that of warping the wing-tips at the rear edge in opposite directions (like the ailerons on the Curtiss machine), which is accomplished by pushing or pulling the lever back and forth; second, that of vertical steering, which is done by turning the handle at the top of this lever to right or left. The outer levers operate the horizontal rudder in the rear (formerly placed in front). These levers work in the same way as the steering-post on the Curtiss flier. On many of the foreign machines, vertical steering is accomplished by using the feet in much the same manner as that with which boys steer a bob-sled when coasting downhill.
Progress in aviation during the past two years has been due to the improvement of the aëronautical gasolene motor. The designs and principles of the aeroplane as first produced by Bleriot, the Wrights, Curtiss, and Farman, are practically unchanged. Minor changes have been made in construction and in the placing of control rudders, but to the uninitiated they appear very much the same as they were two years ago. The cost of constructing a machine like the Curtiss is about $400. An equipment, including motor, propeller, radiator, etc., will cost from $1500 to $2000, al
It is possible, however, that some one will discover some new means of navigating the airlanes, and so do away with the modern aeroplane. The value of the aeroplane in time of war is unquestionable, and the various governments, realizing this fact, have taken up the matter seriously, and are training men in the use of them. The United States Army and Navy have both been supplied with machines, and are constantly adding new ones to their equipment. Recent experiments have been carried out to determine the possibility of carrying mail by
though not actually worth over $500, so that the actual cost of an aéroplane is less than $1000, and yet the price of a first-class machine, complete, ranges from $3000 to $10,000. Commercially, the aeroplane is useless in its present state. It cannot carry any great weight, it will not stand any extra strain, and is unable to fly unless the weather be almost perfect. Automatic stability is still in an imperfect stage, and the motors are not altogether reliable. Last, but not least, it is a very expensive machine, both in its first cost and in the outlay necessary to keep it in proper condition. These faults, as well as many others, must be overcome before we have a practical flying-machine. Danger must be eliminated to a greater degree, and to do this, it is necessary to produce a machine that will automatically balance itself. A thoroughly reliable motor and a machine capable of standing any extra strain suddenly placed upon it are other requirements of the future aeroplane.
aéroplane. It has proven to be a great novelty, but beyond that it is of no consequence. I believe that eventually it will be possible to transport mail by such means, but that it will be some time before such routes are permanently established.
In spite of the many fatalities of the past year, women as well as men are constantly taking up the study of flight, some as a means of making a living, while others follow it for the sport and pleasure they derive from it; and it is not unlikely that this will continue until the welkin is full of various aircrafts both public and private. Many predict that ten years from now the world will cease to wonder at the man who goes tearing along overhead at the rate of one hundred miles or more an hour, or the midnight air-riders who come sailing over the roofs of the sky-scrapers to settle on some hotel's landing-stage to partake of an evening luncheon. And probably we cannot even imagine, as yet, the great possibilities of the aéroplane of the future.