Paterson No. 2
M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
Flight, December 2, 1911.
THE PATERSON BIPLANE.
Looking back over the general run of biplanes, particularly those of the cellular type, constructed during the past three years, one cannot help being struck with the lack of finesse in design that most of them display, probably on account of the ease of construction that characterises that class of machine.
Mr. Compton-Paterson cannot be accused of erring in this respect, for, as a pilot who prefers the biplane as a mount, he has attacked the problem of construction with a view to eliminating as far as possible the shortcomings of that type. Undoubtedly the most evident bugbear of the cellular biplane is its unwieldiness in transport, and to remedy this failing the cellule of the Paterson biplane is constructed in three sections, each of the two outer units being easily detachable from the central one by the simple process of disconnecting twelve stay wires and the cable operating the ailerons. So easy is the whole operation that either end section can be removed by three men within 2 1/2 minutes, and within double that time the biplane, of 32 feet span, can be got ready to pass through a 10-foot gateway by the removal of both end portions. The advantages of this feature will be easily apparent to those who have had any dealings with the transport of machines of this type, and although it may seem to some an innovation, it must be said to Paterson's credit that he adopted the same system in the autumn of 1909 in the construction of the Anzani-engined Curtiss-type on which he carried out his initial experiments.
The internal construction of the planes is of considerable interest, as they aredouble-surfaced, the fabric being supported by a well-conceived wooden skeleton, after the manner adopted in monoplane practice.
Both front and rear spars are cut from best English ash and are hollowed out to H section for the sake of lightness, excepting in those portions to which struts are applied and through which eye-bolts are passed. To the front spar is applied a hollow wooden strip, forming a nose piece, which not only strengthens the boom to a considerable extent but forms an efficient entering edge. Running parallel with the booms are three silver spruce stringers of rectangular section, that pass through corresponding mortises cut in the main ribs. In this manner the stringers may be considered as being interlaced through the wing structure, a more satisfactory method than that of merely keeping the ribs in position by the use of a few tin tacks or perhaps wood screws. Five main ribs, shaped from ash and drilled to reduce weight, serve to give the proper curvature to each wing section and midway between these ribs are fitted pairs of silver spruce lath ribs which support both top and bottom surfaces. The intervals between these ribs are further divided by the application of single lath ribs which support the lower surface only. A good idea of the construction of the plane skeleton can be gathered from the accompanying sketch, and the neat workmanlike manner of accommodating the ends of the compression struts is also shown.
The method by which the end sections are rendered detachable is closely analogous to that employed in the fitting of Bleriot monoplane wings. Both front and rear spars of the central section project on each side for a distance of 6 inches beyond the end of the plane. Each projection is cylindrical in form in order that it may be accurately accommodated in the large-diameter steel tube which forms the termination of the corresponding spar of the outer section. A notable feature as regards the wing construction is the fact that no tacks are used, every fastening being entrusted to either bolts or wood screws.
The outriggers, which proceed from the front and rear booms to support the elevator and tail surfaces respectively, are identical in every respect, and they are applied to the planes by means of magnalium-bronze sockets. These latter embrace three sides of the wing spar and also accommodate the vertical cellule struts and those struts supporting the landing carriage.
Contrary to customary practice, Paterson has not adopted a front elevator working in conjunction with a flap hinged to the rear edge of the tail, but has entrusted the function of steering in a vertical sense to a single slightly cambered surface mounted about 13 feet in advance of the main planes.
In horizontal flight this surface presents an angle of incidence slightly in excess of that of the main planes, this feature doubtless contributing to a certain extent towards the longitudinal stability of the machine. The fixed tail plane is identical with the forward elevator, both as regards size and camber, and its attitude is positively incident to the line of flight. Hinged to the tubular mast of steel, which forms the keystone in the construction of the tail unit, is the directional rudder. This organ, rectangular in shape, is constructed of sheet aluminium of light gauge supported by a thin wooden frame-work. A neat ash skid, pivoting about the base of the tubular mast before mentioned, guards the tail against damage by contact with the ground.
With the object in view of utilising the main supporting surfaces as an air brake in order to quickly bring the machine to rest after landing, the tail unit is high-built and arranged as compactly as possible. By so raising the situation of the tail with regard to the remainder of the machine, the main planes present a large angle incident to forward advance when the rear skid is touching the ground, and so perform this secondary function of air brake. It was during his early experiments over the smooth sands at Freshfield that Paterson was first impressed by the need of quickly retarding the forward motion of the machine on landing, and although he tried all manner of frictional brakes applied to earth cither directly, by means of rubbing skids, or indirectly, by braking the running wheels, the conclusion was arrived at that the system at present adopted was the most efficacious and by far the simplest from the constructional point of view.
The unit which accommodates the pilot, passenger, fuel tanks and motor has been the object of refinement in design. The front section which supports the pilot's and passenger's seats, and to which all the control wires are carried, is detachable from the rear section, to which are attached the tanks and motor, by the simple expedient of withdrawing four bolts. U-bolts have been dispensed with for assembling this unit in the cellule. The bearers rest on brackets shaped integrally with the four very strongly constructed central struts and are attached thereto by four bolts, one through each strut - a method which makes for ease of dismantling and facility and accuracy of re-erecting.
Almost identical with that originated by Henry Farman is the running gear with which the Paterson biplane is furnished - the only difference being that the radius rods are much shorter and consequently subject to each other a more obtuse angle at their point of attachment to the skid. They are so arranged that the wheels will have a greater "lock" for swivelling.
Control of the elevating and balancing surfaces is operated from a "gate" lever of the type first employed on the Macfie biplane and later adopted on the Grahame-White "Baby."
The customary foot-bar controls the steering laterally.
As our readers are no doubt aware the machine has been built with the object of using it for a tour of exhibition flying in South Africa. For this purpose it is exceptionally well suited as it is capable of lifting two passengers in addition to the pilot and of maintaining a speed somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50 miles an hour. For facility of transport it is quite exceptional, as the whole machine, motor included, can pack away in a case, the dimensions of which are no more than 14 ft. by 6 ft. by 8 ft. Its weight without fuel or human complement is 750 lbs.
Flight, February 24, 1912.
FLIGHT IN SOUTH AFRICA.
SINCE the African Aviation Syndicate, Ltd., whose more active members are C. Compton Paterson, E. F. Driver, and Capt. Guy Livingston, commenced their operations at Cape Town, little news has leaked through to England as to their actual doings in that colony. As regards the accident that Compton Paterson suffered at the Green Point Track, while flying that excellent little biplane of his own construction, many and varied have been the causes of that mishap put forward by correspondents of the daily journals. It is therefore more than interesting to hear from the pilot himself what actually occurred. Mr. Paterson under date January 31st, writes as follows:-
"By now you will have heard of my smash - pretty bad one too. What really happened was that owing to the machine having been exposed to the weather ever since it was put together, and during the time our tent was being made, the fabric became, during wet weather, very tight, and then when exposed to the sun became terribly slack. This sort of thing going on from day to day evidently did not do the tail any good. The day before the smash I flew from Kenilworth, which is eight miles from Cape Town, over Table Bay and all round Three Anchor Bay, then landed in the Green Point track ready for the next day's demonstrations. During this flight, which was really the most interesting I have made yet, I had to fly through and sometimes over huge rain clouds and naturally got soaked to the skin - likewise the machine. I think this last soaking must have split the fabric on the front boom of the tail, because as soon as I left the ground for my next flight the tail simply opened out horizontally, and the top fabric forming a bag forced the tail down until the machine travelled straight up and eventually turned completely over.
"I hope you can understand from the enclosed sketches just what happened. I was absolutely powerless to do anything, so at about 20 feet switched off the engine and hung on to the elevator for a downward movement.
"Had 2 weeks in hospital, then another 2 weeks on crutches but now able to get about almost as if nothing whatever had happened. Am reconstructing the machine, and on the 17th prox. am giving an exhibition with Driver at Johannesburg.
"Previous to the smash both Driver and I were putting up some pretty good work. Both got up over 4,000 feet. My machine lifts anything you care to put on board and climbs almost the same as a 50-h.p. Bleriot. Surprised Driver beyond measure.
"Freddy Lewin, as I suppose you know, is in Cape Town and has been up with me on several occasions.
"Driver and Guy have already gone to Johannesburg, and I and Turner - our engineer - follow with the biplane in a very few days.
"Flying round and about Cape Town is rather dangerous on account of the air currents caused by Table Mountain and the other mountains surrounding the district. Am hoping flying up country will be easier work.
"Driver and I were presented with beautiful silver cups and gold medals from the citizens of Cape Town. Guy also got a medal for hard work. I think he deserved it too.
"We all wish you every success, and wish also to be remembered to the flying world at large."
Flight, August 23, 1913.
COMPTON C. PATERSON
MR. COMPTON PATERSON, who has just founded a flying school for the instruction of officers and others at Kimberley, in South Africa, and whose portrait we publish this week, initiated himself into the mysteries of aviation in the early part of 1910. In that year he designed and constructed a biplane, somewhat on Curtiss lines, which he proceeded to test on the seashore at Freshfield, near Liverpool. Moreover, he was successful to the extent of flying straights of about half a mile after a very short practice, and rapidly became a proficient pilot of the machine, although he did not secure his certificate until December, 1910, mainly owing to the difficulty of having the qualifying flights witnessed by an official observer. The aerodrome at Freshfield was established by Compton Paterson, who afterwards came to London, and put in some time with the Grahame-White Aviation Co. at Hendon, before making arrangements for a South African tour. It was in December, 1911, that he landed at Cape Town with one of his own biplanes fitted with a 50 h.p. Gnome. Flying demonstrations were given at Kenilworth race course, near Cape Town, and subsequently at the Green Point cycle track. These exhibitions extended through the Christmas holidays of that year. Among his experiences was a mishap which might have had very serious consequences, the fabric on the tail of his machine bursting at an altitude of something like 40 ft. The machine did not immediately fall, but first climbed at an ever-increasing angle for another 20 ft., when it turned over and crashed to the ground upside down. The pilot escaped without serious injury, and in a few weeks was at work repairing the wreck.
From Cape Town, Paterson went to Johannesburg, where he flew during February and March of 1911, and Kimberley was visited in April. So successful was the general effect of his work, that the Cape Town Corporation decided to ask him to give a hydro-aeroplane demonstration, for which purpose Paterson had to design and have suitable floats made locally. As a result of this tour, the people of South Africa have been fairly well stirred up to a realisation of the possibilities of the aeroplane, and Paterson himself has succeeded in establishing the nucleus of an industrial interest in the furtherance of the movement.
BRITISH NOTES OF THE WEEK.
Aviation in South Africa.
UNDER the direction of Mr. Compton Paterson an aviation school has been established at Kimberley, and the first class of defence force officers were to have commenced their training on Monday. An Aviation Corps has also been formed with headquarters at Pretoria. It has started with four officers.
Flight, November 1, 1913.
THE LATE MR. E. W. CHEESEMAN.
A PATHETIC reminder of the fatal accident to Mr. Cheeseman in Africa is to hand this week, in the form of a letter to a member of the staff of FLIGHT, dated Kimberley, two days before his mishap, and two photographs which we reproduce. In this he writes as follows :#
"I am enclosing two photos of the South African Flying School. I am instructing the future Officers of the South African Aviation Corps and also a fair number of civilians, including a lady. We have made fairly good progress. We have two Paterson biplanes, one a front elevator type, and the other, built out here by a pupil (Mr. H. Carpenter), is of the Henry Farman type, but a Paterson section.
Kimberley Aerodrome is 4,000 ft. above sea-level, but the old 'busses lift well with instructor and pupil. The aerodrome is five miles round and a track like a billiard table. Both machines are fitted with 50 h.p. Gnomes. I shall have pleasure at a later date in forwarding photos of the locally built 'bus, and other photos of interest.
"Give my kind regards to the boys and accept best wishes for yourself."
Flight, February 14, 1914.
A SOUTH AFRICAN-BUILT BIPLANE.
IN sending us the two photographs appearing on this page and page 160, a Kimberley correspondent writes as follows :-
"I enclose two photographs of the South African-built biplane referred to in the communication you received and published (in FLIGHT for November 1, 1912) from the late E. W. Cheeseman. This machine is of special interest because it has been recently purchased by the South African Government, and is their first machine. It is also the first machine built in S.A. which has flown successfully. Mr. Paterson recently made a flight over the Kimberley Aerodrome with this machine of 2 hours 10 mins., covering 120 miles. Unfortunately the Paterson Aviation Syndicate is liquidated, and the beautiful aerodrome will be made no further use of until some enterprising firm turn their attention to the possibilities of success in South Africa."