J.Wegg General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecessors Since 1912 (Putnam)
Model B Flying-boats
A side-by-side two-seat biplane flying-boat with a 60/65hp water-cooled engine was built and flown from Lake Salubria in 1912. A second, more refined 'boat, was built with a 90hp Austro-Daimler engine and was capable of 65mph. As the Thomas brothers had trouble with the wooden hull absorbing water, thus adding weight to the aircraft, 30-gauge galvanised iron sheets were used to cover the wooden frame hull of the second aircraft, reinforced at the bow and underneath with wood planking. In 1914, a third design appeared with the same engine and this, together with a more streamlined model produced in 1915, also with a 90hp Austro-Daimler, has been referred to as the B-3. Possibly, one of the airframes was a conversion of an earlier aircraft. In any event, the final aircraft was built of mahogany and intended as a luxurious cruiser for two or three people.
Span 36ft 4in; length 25ft 6in
Weight empty 1,275 lb.
Maximum speed 65mph.
1915 model (B-3 or B-4)
Span 38ft; length 28ft 6in; wing area 360sq ft.
Weight empty 1,250 lb.
Maximum speed 70mph; endurance 4hr.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919
THOMAS 1915 FLYING BOAT. 90 h.p.
1. Built entirely of mohogany, luxuriously fitted up, hull of best design for water and air use.
2. Carries two or three people, fuel for two to four hours, and additional useful load. Speed is 70 m.p.h. (115 kms.) Weight (empty) is 1250 lbs. (567 kgs.)
3. Over all length, 28 feet 6 Ins. (8.65 m ), span-top plane, 38 feet (11.60 m.), lower plane, 28 feet (8.55 m.), chord, 5 feet (1.50 m.), gap (average), 6 feet (1.82 m.), wing area, 360 sq. feet (33.5 m2), loading, 4.3 lbs./sq. feet.
4. Compared with 1914 model, design of wings end hull is much better for the considerations of less resistance, more seaworthiness, and greater air efficiency. The entire construction is of a much higher order, and luxurious comfort is the first consideration.
Flight, June 4, 1915.
THE THOMAS FLYING BOAT.
SOME little time ago we published a description and scale drawings of the Thomas military tractor biplane, which had done so well in its preliminary trials. A few particulars and the accompanying illustrations of a flying boat built by this same enterprising firm are now to hand. It should be stated at the outset that this flying boat is not by any means the first to be turned out by the Thomas factory, which is now situated at Ithaca, N.Y., on Lake Cayuga. As a matter of fact, Messrs. Thomas Brothers have had several years of experience in the construction of this type of craft.
In its general arrangement the Thomas flying boat does not represent any radical departure from usual practice, but when one comes to look into the construction several innovations are to be found. The main Planes, of which the upper one possesses a considerable overhang, are rectangular in plan form, and are separated by two pairs of vertical interplane struts on each side. The weight of the top plane extension is taken by two struts sloping outwards to a point near the tip, and attached at their lower ends to the bottom plane at the point where the outer pair of struts are secured. The engine - a 90 h.p. Austro-Daimler - is mounted on a structure of steel tubes slightly more than half-way up between the planes. It is started in the usual way by means of a starting handle projecting out in front and within easy reach of pilot or passenger. As is the usual practice in flying boat design, the propeller is placed at the rear of the planes. The trailing edge of the top plane has been cut away in the centre up to the rear spar to give clearance for the propeller. A small petrol service tank having the shape of a somewhat deeply cambered aerofoil is mounted on top of the upper plane, and petrol is fed to the carburettor from this tank by gravity. The main tank is placed down inside the boat, from which the fuel is fed to the service tank by means of a pressure pump.
One of the most interesting features of the machine is the construction of the boat, which, as regards shape, does not differ greatly from what may be termed standard practice. The framework of the boat is made of spruce, and over this is a planking of two thicknesses of cedar. Instead of the third wooden skin which is generally employed to complete the planking of the hull, the outer covering of the Thomas flying boat consists of light gauge sheet steel, which is claimed by the makers to ensure an absolutely leak-proof boat. It is to be presumed that this outer covering is well protected against the action of sea-water by some non-corrosive composition. Pilot and passenger are installed side by side in a very comfortable cockpit, the pilot occupying the seat on the left hand side. Control is by means of a rotatable hand-wheel mounted on a vertical column, and operating the elevator and rudder. The double-acting ailerons attached to the trailing edge of the upper plane are operated by means of a foot bar, but, if desired by the purchaser, the more generally adopted system of control, i.e., hand-wheel for ailerons and elevator and foot-bar for the rudder, can be substituted. The instruments include revolution counter, which can be engaged and disengaged at will, air speed indicator, clock, barograph and compass. A 10 lbs. folding anchor is also provided. Cylindrical metal floats fitted with spring boards are attached to the outer ends of the lower plane.
Mounted on a structure of steel tubes bolted to the rear portion of the boat is a fixed horizontal stabilizing plane to which is hinged the divided elevator. Below the stabilising plane is a small vertical fin, attached to the deck of the boat and to the rudder post. Round the latter is pivoted the partly balanced rudder.
The following general dimensions should give a good idea of the proportions of the machine: Length o.a., 25 ft. 5 ins.; span of top plane, 36 ft. 3 ins.; span of lower plane, 28 ft. 3 ins.; chord, 5 ft.; gap, 5 ft. 9 ins.; area, 325 sq. ft.; length of boat, 23 ft.; beam-top, 3 ft. 4 ins.; bottom, 2 ft. 10 ins.; maximum depth, 3 ft.; climbing speed, about 500 ft. per minute; horizontal speed, 68 m.p.h.
Flight, October 29, 1915.
THE 1916 THOMAS FLYING BOAT.-TYPE B.
IN the several years which have elapsed since the Thomas Brothers produced their first flying machine, every new type turned out, first at the Bath Works, N.Y., and more recently at the new extensive shops at Ithaca, N.Y., has incorporated some improvement suggested by the experience gained with the preceding machine. Their experience, too, has not been confined to a single type, but they have, as the pages of "FLIGHT" bear witness, produced both tractor and "pusher" land machines and flying boats. This week we are able to bring the series up to date with photographs and particulars of the latest Thomas flying boat, which was finished and tested a few weeks ago.
Considered purely as a type, the new Thomas flying boat does not show any radical changes from general practice in flying boat design, but great attention has been paid to the detail construction, and the finish, we are told, is of a very high quality.
In its general arrangement the 1916 model Thomas flying boat follows along the lines of its prototypes, having a boat-shaped hull in which accommodation is provided for pilot and passengers as well as for the main petrol tanks, while the engine is mounted comparatively high in the gap between the main planes. As the accompanying illustrations show, the upper main plane, which has a larger span than the lower, is straight, while the lower is set at a very pronounced dihedral angle.
The hull or boat is built up of a framework of ash covered with mahogany planking, and the bottom, which is slightly "Vee"-shaped in front, flattens out gradually towards the step. From there to the stern, the boat is flat bottomed. Slightly ahead of the wings and inside the hull are arranged the pilot's and passenger's seats, side by side, while a little farther back, between the spars of the lower planes in fact, is a second cockpit, with accommodation for additional passengers and extra petrol. All seats are upholstered with black leather and designed with a view to provide a maximum of comfort for the occupants.
In front of the pilot are the controls, which consist of a rotatable hand wheel mounted on a single pivoted column. A to-and-fro movement of the wheel operates the elevator, and rotation of the wheel works the rudder. The ailerons are connected up to two pedals fitted with stirrups to prevent any possibility of the feet slipping off. As in motor car practice, the throttle control of the engine is mounted on the steering wheel, and on a dash in front of the pilot is a neatly arranged set of instruments, including engine revolution counter air speed indicator (Pitot tube), altimeter, inclinometer hand-operated pressure pump, pressure gauge for the petrol, and a clock.
For purposes of transport the main planes are made up in six sections as follows :- Two upper plane extensions, two top planes, and two lower planes. They are built up of ribs over I-section spruce spars, the whole being covered with high-grade Irish linen, and "doped" with seven coats of Emaillite. In order to preserve the dope and to make the fabric absolutely water and moisture proof, a coat of varnish is finally applied, giving a highly glossy finish to the wing covering. Two pairs of streamline spruce struts on each side connect the main planes, cross bracing being effected by means of stranded cables manufactured by Roebling.
The tail planes are of the usual form. A vertical rudder is pivoted round an extension of the stern post of the boat, and to balance the side area in front, presented by the flat sides of the hull, a large vertical fin is fitted, running forward from the rudder post to a point slightly more than half way between the stern and the rear cockpit. The horizontal stabilising plane is of semicircular plan form, and is carried on stanchions running up from the deck of the rear part of the hull. To this stabiliser is hinged a divided elevator, operated in the usual manner through cables running from the control lever to short crank levers on the elevator.
At present the engine fitted is a 90 h.p. Austro-Daimler, which is supported on two engine bearers of ash, resting on four streamline ash struts that are secured at their lower extremities to the gunwales of the hull. In order to provide the necessary rigidity, and to take the stresses set up by the momentum of the engine when alighting two spruce struts are placed diagonally, running from the rear of the engine beaters to a point on the gunwales slightly ahead of the place where are attached the main front engine struts.
Great attention has, as we have already pointed out, been paid to the general finish of this machine. All internal wooden parts are treated with a waterproofing solution, while external parts of wood, such as struts and hull, are finished in natural wood. All metal parts are made rust proof by painting them with an anti-corrosive composition.
The chief characteristics of the new Thomas flying boat are: Span of top plane, 39 ft.; span of lower plane, 28 ft.; chord, 5 ft.; gap, 6 ft.; over all length, 28 ft. 6 ins.; area, 360 sq. ft.; loading, 4.3 lbs. per sq. ft.; weight empty, 1,250 lbs.; speed, 65 to 70 m.p.h.