L.Opdyke French Aeroplanes Before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1913
Special types of Bleriots.--In addition to the standard machines, Bleriot from time to time produces special machines, of which the best known is the Limousine, built for M. Deutsch de la Meurthe, built 1911 and still existing. One or two Canards have also been built, including an armoured military.
Flight, November 25, 1911.
THE FIRST "AEROCAR."
THE Bleriot workshops have just turned out a machine which marks a distinct point in construction and to which previous reference has been made in these pages. Built to the order of M. Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe, it is the first passenger-carrying aeroplane to be constructed in which the comfort of the human complement has been taken into serious consideration.
In this respect it signifies the commencement of a new era in aeroplane construction.
The passengers are comfortably accommodated in a side-entrance body, built by Rothchild, which is provided with mica windows in front and on either side, in order to afford to its occupants a good view of the country over which the machine is passing. Its interior is padded with pneumatic cushions for the purpose of protecting the passengers should a rough landing be made. The pilot maintains control of the monoplane by means by a regulation Bleriot cloche and foot bar from his seat on the platform extending in front of the body, and to his left is a space which can be utilized either for the purpose of accommodating a mechanic or personal attendant, or for packing luggage. To facilitate communication between passengers and pilot, a speaking tube, similar to those in use on taxis, is fitted. The landing chassis is of the customary Bleriot type, and it is further interesting to notice that the control of the machine's elevation has been entrusted to a front elevator, which is not connected with a plane working in inverse conjunction at the tail, as is usually the case when an organ of this description is employed.
It will be remembered that the experimental 100 h.p. monoplane built a few months ago by Bleriot with the object of providing data for the construction of the machine at present under consideration, made use of a method of wing bracing very much analogous to that of the Etrich. This has been abandoned and triangulation of the wings by stout steel cable resorted to.
As can be seen in the accompanying photograph, both the motor, a Gnome of 100-h.p., and the fuel tanks are arranged above and to the rear of the body, a disposition which, we must admit, savours a little too much of the Sword of Damocles to be to our liking.
The wings span 43 ft. from tip to tip, and the overall length of the machine is 46 ft. Ready for flight, but without its human load, the monoplane weighs 1,540 lbs.
Although allowances must be made for the fact that the Bleriot aerocar is still more or less in the experimental stage, it is curious that so little attention has been paid to the reduction of head resistance, for the odd 20 sq. ft. of plane surface, represented by the front of the body, presented normally to a relative wind velocity of approximately 50 miles per hour, must surely result in an enormous and unnecessary waste of power. The machine is at present at Etampes, and its preliminary trials are expected to take place shortly.
Flight, April 19, 1917.
THE "TOTALLY ENCLOSED" AEROPLANE.
During the summer of 1911 another enclosed machine was being constructed, this time at the works of Mons. Bleriot. It was built to the order of that distinguished patron of aviation, Mons. Deutsch de la Meurthe, and had a cabin body with seating accommodation for four passengers. The cabin was most elaborately equipped, and was provided with mica windows through which the occupants were to get a good view of the country over which the machine was flying. The pilot was seated out in the open in front of the cabin, and to facilitate communication between passengers and pilot a speaking-tube similar to those used on motor cars was fitted. This machine had a fixed tail plane, but no rear elevator, longitudinal balance being maintained by the use of an elevator mounted on outriggers a short distance in front of the cabin. The power plane was a 14-cylinder 100 h.p. Gnome motor mounted level with the trailing edge of the wings, and above the roof of the cabin. Ready for flight, but without the passengers, the machine weighed about 1,500 lb., so that with the full complement of passengers the weight must have been in the neighbourhood of 2,300 lb., a by no means small load to be carried by a single pair of wings. During its trial nights this machine flew quite well with pilot alone, but it is doubtful whether it was ever really successful with a full load of passengers. The flat front of the cabin presented some 20 odd sq. ft. of surface normal to the wind, and if the speed be assumed to be about 50 m.p.h. this surface alone would absorb something like 30 h.p.