M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
PASSAT ornithopter No.l (Monsieur J.B. Passat, Wimbledon, Surrey, assisted by Monsieur Martiniere)
Passat was a Frenchman living in England, who experimented with flapping wings from 1905. In 1908 he built his first machine in his garden at Wimbledon, and took it on to Wimbledon Common for its first and only trial, when it traveled at speed for some distance, being airborne for at least twenty yards, before being wrecked against a tree. He was present at Olympia in March 1909 demonstrating his flapping wing principle to visitors at the Aero Show.
The machine consisted of a welded tubular frame, faired to streamlined shape and mounted on three wheels. Two pairs of wings were fitted in tandem; the front pair serving as elevators and for lateral control. The rear pair flapped to provide propulsion, driven by the motor, which also drove the rear wheel. A tailplane, fin and rudder were fitted, together with a small fixed surface at the nose. The wings could be folded to enable the machine to be driven along the road.
Power: 4 l/2hp Werner two-cylinder air-cooled motor cycle engine
Weight 300 lb.
PASSAT ornithopter No.2 Seagull
A second machine was built in 1909-1910 on generally similar lines to No.l, but strengthened and with a tractor propeller. Passat took this machine to Brooklands and tested it in the summer, without success. It was further reported to have flown between 100 and 150 yards after taking off at less than 15 mph.
Power: 8hp George of unknown type
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
Monsieur H. J. B. Passat built his ornithopter at Wimbledon and completed it towards the end of 1910. The single-seat fuselage possessed excellent streamline form and was of welded steel tubing construction, in which the designer was assisted by Mons. Martiniere. A two-cylinder 4-5 h.p. Werner motor-cycle engine actuated the flapping rear wings through reduction gear and cranks, and was connected also to the single rear wheel by a chain so that, for two revolutions of the wheel on the ground, the wings made one complete flap of 10 ft. The smaller pair of front wings were for lateral balance and were non-flapping, but were controllable in incidence to act as elevators. The rear of the bird-like fuselage terminated in a tailplane shaped like a bird's tail.
The ornithopter was tested by Mons. Passat on Wimbledon Common during 1912, and after taking off at less than 15 m.p.h. flew successfully for 120-150 yds. before its passage was arrested by a tree. Span, 24 ft. Length, 20 ft. Weight empty, 300 lb.
Flight, November 12, 1910
MR. PASSAT'S ORNITHOPTER.
I am pleased to forward you the photos and the particulars of my ornithopter, which I promised you.
This I claim to be the first flapping-wing machine which has risen successfully off the ground for 20 yds. with an ordinary motor cycle engine of 4-h.p. It is now being fitted with a light 8-h.p. George engine, and is expected to go to Brooklands shortly. This is the result of five years' study. I claim to have mastered the secrets of birds' flight, not only theoretically but practically, and I just lately had to strengthen some parts of the machine on account of the wings giving a far greater propulsion than I thought possible.
The machine spans 24 ft. across and is 20 ft. in length.
The front wings are used as an elevator, also for lateral balancing; they are worked individually, while the back wings are flapping by means of a very simple mechanism. The tail is used as a rudder.
The wings of this mechanical bird can be folded in ten minutes, and the machine is then ready to go along the road exactly the same as a motor car.
In the pilot's seat, in the photograph, is Mr. A. Shury, and on the right myself and Mademoiselle Passat.
Hoping this will prove interesting to your readers, and wishing your journal every success.
Wimbledon, Oct. 23rd. J. B. PASSAT.