P.Bowers Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947 (Putnam)
Aerodrome No.4, Silver Dart The Silver Dart was less famous than June Bug but was a far more successful flying machine. Sponsored by McCurdy, it had a 50 hp Curtiss water-cooled V-8 engine, biplane forward elevators, and no rear stabilizer. Instead of being connected directly, the engine drove the propeller by a chain and sprockets.
First flight was at Hammondsport on 6 December, 1908, with McCurdy flying. It was moved to Baddeck where it made the first flight in Canada on 23 February, 1909, again with McCurdy piloting.
Span 49 ft (14,93 m); wing area 420 sq ft (39 sq m); gross weight 860 lb (390 kg).
Flight, January 2, 1909
Flight Experiments in America.
THE Aerial Experiment Association are continuing their experimental work in America, and have just completed their fourth plane, which has been christened "Silver Dart." It follows very much the lines of the "June Bug," but is slightly smaller. The planes are 6 ft. across at the centre, where they are placed 6 ft. apart, diminishing to 4 ft. wide at the tips and 4 ft. apart. The spread of the wings, including the movable tips at each end, is 49 ft., and the total lifting area of the machine amounts to 420 sq. ft.; 15 ft. in front of the main planes there is a double elevating rudder, while at the rear # 11 ft. from the main planes # is the single vertical rudder. The wooden propeller is also at the rear, is 8 ft. in diameter, and driven at a speed of 1,000 revs, per min. by an 8-cyl. Curtiss motor. At each end of the main planes are fitted movable triangular planes which are controlled by the swaying of the operator's body. These "wing tips " have a total area of 40 sq. ft.
The "June Bug" has now been slightly remodeled and mounted on pontoons, so that experiments may be conducted upon the water. During some recent tests upon Lake Keuka at Hammondsport, N.Y., the machine, now known as the "Loon," covered 2 miles (1 mile with and 1 against a wind of 5 or 6 miles an hour) at an average speed of 27-06 miles per hour, but this was not sufficient to enable the apparatus to completely rise from the water. Further experiments are now being conducted with hydroplane hulls of various types.
Flight, March 6, 1909
The "Silver Dart" Flies 4 1/2 Miles.
SINCE the various flying machines of the American Aerial Experimental Association have been transferred from Hammondpont, N.Y., to Dr. Graham Bell's estate at Nova Scotia, the progress made, as we announced last week, has been very satisfactory, especially with the biplane "Silver Dart." On Wednesday of last week, the aeroplane, with Mr. Douglas McCurdy as aviator, made a flight of three-quarters of a mile in a straight line, and, in a second attempt, flew, at a speed of 40 miles an hour, for 4 1/2 miles, up and down Baddeck Bay and over the frozen waters of the Bras d'Or Lakes. The aeroplane seemed to be under perfect control, and at one time Mr. McCurdy caused the machine to rise, so as to clear the tops of some trees on a neck of land. The flight was brought to a conclusion because Mr. McCurdy found himself too close to the earth to effect a safe turning, so he therefore shut off the power and glided down to the ice. We gave a description of this aeroplane in our issue of January 2nd last, and our readers may remember that a feature of the machine is the movable wing tips, which are triangular in shape. The main planes are arranged in the form a distended ellipse.
Flight, March 27, 1909
The "Silver Dart" Wins the "Scientific American" Trophy.
ON Thursday of last week, Mr. McCurdy made a successful attempt with the "Silver Dart" to win the Scientific American Trophy, which was first won by the "June Bug" last year. An 8 mile course was laid out, and Mr. McCurdy succeeded in circling round this course twice, the flight being witnessed by a member of the American Aero Club. At twilight on the same day, Mr. Baldwin, another member of the American Experimental Association, took Mr. McCurdy's place, and made a successful flight, thus demonstrating that the machine can be handled by more than one person. It may be remembered that in the early flights Mr. Curtiss was in charge.