S.Ransom, R.Fairclough English Electric Aircraft and their Predecessors (Putnam)
On 4 September, 1909, the Burnley Express reported: 'An enterprising Burnley gentleman has given an order to Mr Howard T. Wright for one of his well-known biplanes. The machine is of the latest type being constructed of steel tubing, and having the most powerful engines [sic]. Strength has been the main consideration, and the machine, which is to carry three persons, will cost over ?1,000. The biplane is already constructed, but Mr Wright will not allow it to leave the testing grounds until it has had at least a fortnight's thorough test. The Burnley gentleman has gone to London to receive instructions under Mr Wright, and he will probably take charge of the machine when it arrives in Burnley. Mr Wright imposes certain conditions in respect of the sale, and one is that the biplane shall not be purely for exhibition purposes, but shall fly.'
The enterprising gentleman was W.E. Cooke, who had varied business interests in Lancashire besides being managing director of the Burnley Motor Pleasure Co, and his biplane was to be used to establish the Burnley & District Aero Club, of which his eighteen year-old son, Granville, was to act as secretary. Local response to the aero club was good and naturally the subject of much discussion, Howard Wright having consented to become the club's first honorary member. Plans were made for the biplane to be flown at the first Blackpool aviation meeting and to be entered for the Daily Mail prize of ?1 ,000 for the first circular flight of one mile by an all-British aeroplane. However, the club's immediate need was for a flying ground and though Howard Wright had twice visited Burnley to offer advice on this point, no suitable site was found in the vicinity. The club's promoters were forced to look elsewhere and after considering Freckleton Marsh, near Preston, finally rented land at Blackpool. The problem of the flying ground having been settled, another of finance arose, leading to various speculative reports that the biplane would not be bought after all. The doubts were quickly dispelled when it was announced that the East Lancashire Aeroplane Co, a syndicate headed by W.E. Cooke, had raised the purchase money by subscription, of which the largest amount had been contributed by Cooke. These difficulties had tended to delay the delivery of the aircraft but it finally arrived in Burnley on 9 October, 1909.
Shortly after placing his order, Cooke must have changed his mind as to the type of aircraft he proposed to buy, because the machine which was delivered was a monoplane. Cooke's intention to buy a monoplane was noted without explanation in the local press on 11 September. Undoubtedly, the change of order added to the delays, for a new aircraft had to be built. The monoplane was fitted with a single 50 hp Antoinette water-cooled engine driving a wooden two-blade propeller. The engine's long condenser radiators were attached along both sides of the fuselage. Petrol, sufficient for three hours' flight, was fed from the streamlined tank suspended from the cabane struts over the passenger, who sat well separated from the pilot within the fuselage which was built of light steel tubes. Warping control was applied to the tapered wings by means of foot pedals and the tailplane, fitted with end elevators, and a triangular rudder were operated from two small levers on either side of the pilot. The engine could be started by a small hand wheel placed on the pilot's left. The undercarriage followed Bleriot practice.
The aircraft, untested, was transported by rail to Manchester and from there to Burnley, where it arrived at 9 am, four hours later than expected. It was taken directly to the Athletic Grounds at Brunshaw, Burnley, and quickly erected for its exhibition which was to be opened at 10 am by the mayor. However, after erection some difficulty was experienced in starting the engine, it had become 'clogged up in transit.' These delays were Sufficient to postpone the opening of the exhibition until the afternoon, during the course of which the monoplane was taxied round the running track with the mayor as passenger. The aircraft remained on exhibition until 12 October, after which date it was proposed to show it at Wigan, Southport and Manchester before taking the aircraft to Blackpool for its first flight. These plans came to nothing and the aeroplane was displayed only at Accrington and Blackburn. At the last of the exhibitions, held in a large hall at Blackburn, the propeller came adrift, whilst the engine was being warmed-up, and broke up on hitting the high roof of the building, causing considerable damage. After the accident the engine also was declared beyond repair.
The mishap at Blackburn was followed by the demise of the Burnley & Distnct Aero Club and the disposal of the monoplane to the Northern Automobile Co, Bradford. This company advertised the aeroplane for sale at ?200 and in doing so claimed that it was unused! The monoplane was subsequently bought by Harold Keates Hales, who had it transported to Hanley on the outskirts of Stafford. There Hales exhibited it at at least two park fetes where he recovered in fees half the ?150 he paid for the monoplane. On 10 July, 1910, Hales took the aircraft to Keele Racecourse for its and his first flight. In attempting to take-off, however, he pulled back on the elevator control lever too sharply; the aircraft leapt into the air stalled and crashed to earth. Surprisingly, the monoplane was not totally wrecked and Hales escaped serious injury. The flight lasted 25 seconds.
A few months later the monoplane was again offered for sale the advertisement in The Aero of 12 October stating: 'Magnificent passenger-carrying Wright Monoplane, 50 hp Antoinette engine, not used, cost L1,000, bargain. H. Hales, Burslem.'
Span 32 ft; total surface area 240 sq ft.
Weight empty 750 lb; weight loaded 1,000 lb.
Estimated maximum speed 35 mph.
Price approximately ?1,000.
Howard Wright 1909 Monoplane and Lascelles Ornis
At least three 1909 Monoplanes, designed by Howard Wright, were made at the Battersea workshops during the period November-December 1909. The aircraft were notable for being the subject of one of the earliest British attempts to introduce mass-production techniques into aircraft manufacture, by having a standard structure, so that delivery could be guaranteed within fourteen days. Of the three, two were known to have been powered by the 35 hp Lascelles four-cylinder semi-radial air-cooled engine, although any engine of suitable power could be fitted to the customer's requirements. Features introduced with the Cooke monoplane were used in the design of the 1909 machine's undercarriage, tail unit, and also in the method of controlling the aircraft. However, the fuselage was made throughout of ash with steel angle-pieces and was wire-braced. The pilot, who sat level with the trailing-edges of the wings, which were of parallel-chord and had square tips, controlled the machine with two levers placed on either side of him. The right hand lever was used to warp the wings in conjunction with elevator movement and the left applied rudder. Contemporary records suggest that all the monoplanes were sold but do not state to whom.
A variant of the Monoplane was exhibited at the 1910 Olympia Aero Show Known as the Ornis it had been built for Richard Lascelles & Co Ltd, of 13 Greek Street, London, W.1, by Howard Wright in the month preceding the Show. The Ornis, with the exception of the rudder and method of control, was identical to the Lascelles-powered 1909 Monoplane, the rudder being rectangular in shape and the method of control, an inclined steering wheel. The tractor propeller was made from Kauri pine by Weiss. After the Show, the aircraft was bought by A.G. Power, who experimented with it at Brooklands during 1910.
Span 28 ft; basic fuselage length 27 ft; wing area 154 sq ft.
Weight without engine 350 lb; weight of 35 hp Lascelles 150 lb.
Span: 28 ft; length 30 ft; wing chord 6 ft; wing dihedral 0° 38'; propeller diameter 8 ft; propeller pitch 3 ft; main undercarriage track 4 ft 6 in; wing area 154 sq ft; tailplane area including elevators 20 sq ft; total elevator area 10 sq ft; rudder area 5 sq ft.
Weight without engine 250 lb; weight loaded 600 lb.
Cruising speed 30 mph.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
Howard Wright 1909 Monoplane
The Howard Wright single-seat tractor monoplane of 1909 was designed by Howard T. Wright and constructed at Battersea, London, S.W.11. The engine was the four-cylinder 35 h.p. Lascelles. Warping was applied to the wings and the elevators were pivoted at the ends of the tailplane. Span, 28 ft. Length, 27 ft. Weight empty, 480 lb.
The Ornis single-seat tractor monoplane was designed by Howard Wright and built by Warwick Wright for R. Lascelles and Co. Ltd., of 13 Greek Street, London, W. 1, on whose stand it was exhibited at the 1910 Olympia Aero Show. It was powered by the four-cylinder semi-radial 35 h.p. Lascelles engine. Span, 28 ft. Length, 26 ft. Wing area, 150 sq. ft. Weight empty, 450 lb. Weight loaded, 600 lb. Cruising speed, 30 m.p.h. Price, ?450.
Howard Wright Co-axial Monoplane
The Howard Wright two-seat tractor monoplane of 1909 was built by Warwick Wright Ltd., for Horatio Barber. It was powered by a 50 h.p. Antoinette engine which drove two co-axial propellers. These were replaced later by a single propeller. The design was characterized by long condenser radiators for the steam-cooled Antoinette, which were carried on both sides of the fuselage, and by the wide separation between the passenger, whose seat was in the centre of the wings, and the pilot, who was half-way between the wings and the tail. The tail plane had Bleriot-type end elevators, and the castoring landing-gear also followed early Bleriot practice. Span, 32 ft. Length, 27 ft. Wing area, 200 sq. ft. Weight loaded, 1,000 lb.
The Cooke Monoplane was a two-seat tractor designed by W. F. Cooke of the Burnley Motor Bus Co., of Burnley, Lanes., and built by Howard Wright. The machine was powered by a 50 h.p. engine and was completed in September, 1909. Wing area, 200 sq. ft. Weight empty, 750 lb.
Flight, March 12, 1910
THE SECOND OLYMPIA AERO SHOW.
A MONOPLANE of 25 ft. span and 28 ft. overall length, with a surface of 170 sq. ft., the weight complete being 450 lbs. It is fitted with a four-cylinder air-cooled Lascelles engine, driving a Weiss propeller.
Flight, April 16, 1910
FLYER SILHOUETTES FROM OLYMPIA.
THE ORNIS MONOPLANE.
Leading Particulars of the Ornis.
General Dimensions.-Areas-Main planes, 160 sq. ft.; fixed tail, 10 sq. ft.; elevator, 10 sq. ft.; rudder, 5 sq. ft.
Lengths.-Span, 28 ft.; chord, 6 ft.; camber, 3 ins.; leverage of rudder, 25 ft.; skid track, 4 ft. 6 ins.; overall length, 30 ft.
Angle.-Dihedral, 1 in 90.
Materials.-Timber, ash throughout; steel chassis.
Propeller.-Weiss; diameter, 8 ft.; pitch, 3 ft.; material, Kauri pine.
Weight,-Machine, 250 lbs.; engine, 150 lbs.; driver, oil, petrol and water, 200 lbs.; total flying weight, 600 lbs.; loading (all weight supported on main planes), 3.8 lbs. per sq. ft.
Speed of Flight.-30 m.p.h.
System of Control.-Warping of planes, rudder and elevator.
MONOPLANE of modified Bleriot design, being slightly larger in dimensions and rather lighter in details of construction. Control is effected by an inclined steering wheel, and includes wing warping, elevator, and rudder. The main frame is made of timber braced with diagonal wires, and the chassis is entirely constructed of steel tubes.