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)
Lee-Richards Annular Monoplane
Undeterred by the failure of their first attempt at the design of a powered annular-wing aeroplane, Cedric Lee and G. Tilghman Richards continued their experiments with gliders and with wind-tunnel research at East London College. Negotiations with the Blackburn Aeroplane Co., of Leeds, for the construction of a full-size monoplane fell through, but James Radley undertook the work at Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, assisted by E. C. Gordon England as works manager and test pilot. Wind-tunnel tests at the National Physical Laboratory had given very good results, indicating that the annular wing was without a "burble" point and could be expected to lift at angles of incidence of up to 30°. The stall was gentle, and the span of the wings could be half of that of the conventional type. The machine was built with a normal tractor fuselage, incorporating an enclosed 80 h.p. Gnome engine, with the annular wings braced from a pylon before the front cockpit. The second cockpit was set towards the tail, which incorporated conventional rudder and elevators. The monoplane was flown for the first time on 23rd November, 1913, by Gordon England, who found, after a very fast take-off, that it was tail heavy. It stalled and fell some 150 feet into telegraph wires, but without injury to the pilot, who suffered only from shock.
After rebuilding, the machine was flown by C. Gordon Bell and N. S. Percival, but was crashed and reconstructed once again. Modifications were made to the design, and the excessive stability found in the early tests was eradicated in the final version, which proved to be a successful flyer. It its final form, additional strut-braced elevators were added at the top of the rudder post, forming a biplane tail. Some 1,000 miles distance was covered by the three versions, with about 128 hours flying time being reached. The design was found to be easy to fly and control, with a good view for the pilot, and would leave the ground at about 30 m.p.h. with a full load.
Two new annular monoplanes were being built during April, 1914, for the Gordon Bennett race, and the original machine was flown continually until September, 1914. After the 1914-18 War, Tilghman Richards attempted to arouse Air Ministry interest in the design, but was unsuccessful. Span, 22 ft. Length, 23 ft. 3 ins. Wing area, 280 sq. ft. Weight loaded as two-seater, 1,680 lb. Weight loaded as single-seater, 1,500 lb. Maximum speed, 85 m.p.h. Landing speed, 45 m.p.h. Climb, 400 ft. min. Endurance, 3-5 hrs.
Flight, May 2, 1914.
THE CEDRIC LEE MONOPLANE.
As in the early days of the Dunne machine, considerable mystery enshrouds the Cedric Lee monoplane, practical experiments with which have been carried out at the Shoreham aerodrome for some months past. Not the least point of interest in connection with the Cedric Lee monoplane is that it is more or less at variance with certain aerodynamical theories as accepted to-day. Unfortunately, detailed particulars of this interesting machine cannot at present be placed before our readers, as the Cedric Lee Co. do not yet wish these to be made public. Since, however, several successful flights have been made in public, and as entries have been made for the coming Gordon-Bennett race, the following brief particulars, together with the accompanying illustrations, should be of special interest. The most important feature of this machine is that it flies "pterygoid," that is, like a dart, or its length is greater than its span. The latter, in fact, is only some 20 ft. The planes are annular in plan form, being centrally divided fore and aft by the fuselage. The whole of the plane section in side elevation forms one large camber, but the front portion of the plane is also cambered. The covered-in fuselage is rectangular in section, tapering to a vertical knife-edge at the rear. In the middle of the fuselage, in the "hole" of the plane, are the passenger's and pilot's seats, the former occupying the front one, where an excellent view below can be obtained. The engine, a 50 h.p. Gnome, which drives a tractor screw, is placed inside the fuselage in front of the passenger's seat, air scoops being fitted in the sides of the fuselage for cooling. Hinged to the rear extremity of the plane are two elevators, whilst two others are mounted above them, one on each side of the vertical rudder, which is hinged to the rear end of the fuselage and to a vertical fin mounted on to top of the latter. A strong three-wheeled chassis is fitted, one wheel being right in front to protect the propeller. It is claimed that this particular model has a speed range of from 45 m.p.h. to well over 70 m.p.h. Strong construction is another of its features; on one occasion a landing was made on one of the "wing tips," but the machine only rolled a little way on the outer edge of the plane and then settled down on its chassis again without any ill effects. Mr. Gordon England has made several flights on this machine, and just recently Gordon Bell has joined the Cedric Lee Co., and has also made several flights. Unfortunately he met last weekend with one of those accidents that must always j be associated with valuable experimental work, so that activities will be delayed for the present, but we understand that the two machines for the Gordon-Bennett are well in hand at the works.