M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
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P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
Eastbourne Aviation Company Military Biplane
At the Olympia Aero Show of 1914, Mons. E. L. Gassier's excursion into the realm of military aircraft on behalf of the Eastbourne Aviation Company was displayed in the form of the E.A.C. Military Biplane.
The machine was a two-seater with tandem cockpits incorporated in a fuselage of rectangular section and straightforward construction. A well-cowled 80 h.p. Gnome engine turned a propeller of 8 ft. 6 ins. diameter, and the neat undercarriage incorporated short, forwards-projecting skids, the axle being sprung by means of rubber cord.
Wings of unequal span were fitted, with the lower pair shorter than the upper. Their plan-form was unusual in that slight taper was incorporated in the leading-edges outboard of the inner interplane struts of the two-bay cellules. To improve crew visibility, the lower wing roots and the upper centre-section were left open. The wing section employed for the machine possessed a fairly deep camber, the chord being comparatively narrow, while the gap between the planes was generous. The centre-section struts were of inverted-vee type, raked fore and aft at sharp angles, and ailerons were fitted to the upper tips. To make starting the engine easier when the aircraft was being flown solo, the refinement of a starting-handle in the pilot's cockpit was part of the equipment.
Description: Two-seat military tractor biplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
Manufacturers: Eastbourne Aviation Co. Ltd., Eastbourne, Sussex.
Power Plant: 80 h.p. Gnome.
Dimensions: Span, 34 ft. 6 ins. Length, 25 ft. Wing area, 245 sq. ft.
Weights: Empty, 950 lb.
Performance: Maximum speed, 75 m.p.h. Landing speed, 50 m.p.h.
Flight, March 21, 1914.
THE OLYMPIA EXHIBITION.
E.A.C. (EASTBOURNE AVIATION CO.). (70.)
ARE showing an 80 h.p. Tractor Biplane, which is chiefly remarkable for the ease with which it can be erected and dismantled. Owing to the non-arrival of the particulars relating to the exhibit on this stand until too late for inclusion in our last issue, we were precluded from furnishing details respecting it. The machine is fitted with an 80 h.p. Gnome engine, mounted on overhung bearings in the nose of the fuselage, and covered in by an aluminium shield. The fuselage, which is entirely covered in, is built up in the usual way and follows standard lines. Inside this fuselage are arranged the pilot's and passenger's seats, tandem fashion, with the pilot in front. Control is by means of a single central lever and a foot bar. The chassis, which is of rather unusual type, consists of streamlined steel tubes, of which the rear ones are curved forward and upwards to form short skids. The tubular axle, which rests in slots in the V between the tubes, is sprung by rubber shock absorbers, and carries the two wheels, which are fitted with large size Palmer tyres.
The main planes, of which the trailing edge is slightly longer than the leading edge, are separated by four pairs of poplar struts, in addition to two pairs of steel tube streamlined struts running from the centres of the front and rear spars, and sloping down to the fuselage to a point on the upper longerons immediately above the point of attachment of the chassis struts to the lower longerons. Cross bracing of the wings is effected by means of stout stranded cables, each of which is fitted with the combined quick release device and wire strainer shown in the accompanying sketch. It is only a few minutes' work to undo these quick releases and the bolts which secure the spars to the fuselage, and the wings can then be folded flat for packing or transport. The tail planes are so mounted on the fuselage that they can, by undoing a few bolts, be folded down flat along the sides of the fuselage, and thus take up very little room. In order to provide the pilot and passenger with a better view of the ground below, the wings have been left uncovered near the fuselage, and the portion of the spars which is thus left uncovered is enclosed in a streamlined casing. The main characteristics of this machine are :-
Span of upper plane 36 ft.
,, lower " 30 ft.
Length 24 ft.
Weight 950 lbs. empty
Speed 50-75 m.p.h.
Flight, April 18, 1914.
THE E.A.C. TRACTOR BIPLANE.
ALTHOUGH the biplane with which the Eastbourne Aviation Co. made their debut at the recent Olympia Aero Show does not differ radically, as a type, from already existing machines, there is ample evidence of the careful attention which the designer, Mr. E. L. Gassier, has paid to constructional details. Designed primarily to comply with military requirements, such features as would be desirable in a military machine have been closely studied, and every effort has been made to produce a machine which, whilst being sufficiently strong to stand reasonably rough usage, is still light enough to provide a good climbing capacity. Another feature which should be a point in its favour, is the ease with which the machine may be erected and dismantled for storage and transport, operations occupying, we understand, only a few minutes.
The rectangular section fuselage is of the usual girder type, built up of ash longerons connected by struts and cross members, of which the front ones are steel tubes, whilst the rear ones are spruce. The fuselage is rather longer in proportion to the span than one usually finds on machines of this type, thus providing a good leverage for the tail planes. Mounted on overhung bearings in the nose of the fuselage is the engine, an 80 h.p. Gnome, which is partly enclosed by an aluminium cowl for the protection of the pilot and passenger against oil spray. Inside the fuselage and between the engine and pilot's seat are the oil and petrol service tanks. Petrol is forced to this service tank from the main tank carried behind the pilot's seat by means of a hand operated petrol pump. The pilot's and passenger's seats are arranged tandem fashion, the pilot occupying the front seat. From the passenger's or observer's seat an excellent view is obtained, this being further enhanced by leaving the inner portion of the lower main planes uncovered where they join the fuselage. In order to reduce head resistance on the thus uncovered spars, these have been enclosed in streamlined casings, as shown in one of the accompanying sketches, which also shows the method of attaching the spars of the lower plane to the fuselage. Ailerons and elevator are operated by a single central column in front of the pilot, whilst the rudder is actuated by a pivoted foot-bar. The instruments carried are the usual for cross-country work, such as altimeter, compass, clock, revolution indicator and air-speed indicator. A starting handle in front of the pilot makes it possible to start the engine without the necessity of any preliminary swinging of the propeller, a point which should be especially valuable for cross-country flying, as it enables the pilot to make a start without any outside assistance, which is not always available when making forced landings during a prolonged cross-country flight.
As will be seen from the accompanying scale drawings, the trailing edge of the planes is slightly longer than the leading edge, and the upper main plane has a slight overhang. The wings are built up over two ash spars of approximately rectangular section, to which are secured the ribs. These are built up of poplar flanges on three-ply webs. The leading and trailing edges of the wings are formed by spruce stringers. It will be noticed that in the outer portion of the wing the leading edge slopes backwards towards the front spar, but in later machines this feature will be discarded as making the wings more expensive to build and being of no particular aerodynamical value. The main planes are separated by four pairs of poplar struts, two pairs each side, whilst a cabane-like structure mounted on the upper longerons of the fuselage takes the place of the usual four upright struts in the central cellule. Cross bracing is effected by means of stranded cables terminating in the quickly detachable devices illustrated in one of the accompanying sketches. By undoing these combined quick releases and turn buckles, the wings can be dismantled in a very short space of time. The angle of incidence is 4 1/2 degrees, and there is no dihedral angle. Ailerons are fitted to the top plane only.
The chassis is of a very simple type, consisting of two Vs of streamline steel tubes extended forward to form short tusks or skids. The axle rests in slots in flange pieces in the angle between the struts, and is sprung by means of rubber cord. Palmer cord tyres of large size are used, and the wheels are enclosed in fabric covers, in order to reduce the head resistance.
The tail planes consist of a flat triangular stabilizing plane hinged to the upper longerons of the fuselage. The divided elevator is hinged to the trailing edge of this fixed tail plane, and by undoing a few nuts both stabilizing plane and elevator can be folded down flat along the body, thus taking up very little room. A small triangular vertical fin is fitted in order to counteract the forward side area of the fuselage, and to the trailing edge of this fin is hinged the rudder. A tail skid of the type shown in one of the accompanying sketches protects the tail planes against contact with the ground. The weight of the machine empty is 950 lbs., and her speed is expected to be from 50 to 75 miles per hour.
As soon as the machine is completed by the Eastbourne Aviation Company, she will be put through her tests, and there seems little doubt but that she will give a good account of herself, for Mr. Gassier is not only a designer of considerable experience but is also a very capable pilot.
Flight, November 5, 1915.
The undercarriage of the E.A.C. biplane has been included under the heading of simple "Vee" undercarriages, since the small tusks with which it is fitted cannot be said to be skids properly speaking. They are in fact formed by a forward extension of the rear chassis struts, and are here stiffened by webs in the manner shown in the sketch.