L.Opdyke French Aeroplanes Before the Great War (Schiffer)
In 1883 Alexandre Goupil built a birdlike monoplane glider, which seemed stable under a restraining rope. He intended to power it with his new steam engine which weighed about 1000 lbs and produced 15 horsepower. The aircraft featured a streamlined bird-shaped hull, tractor propeller, and rudder and horizontal tail aft; it rested on skids. 2 stubby horizontal surfaces forward were controlled by the pilot's moving around on a pivoted seat: they could work together as elevators or in opposite directions as ailerons, though their purpose was rather to restore lateral balance than to facilitate banking and turning. He called his machine an "aeroplane," apparently one of the first to use the name.
(Span: 6 m; length: 8 m; wing area: 27 sqm; weight: 50 kg)
In a 1916 attempt to avoid the Wright patent on wingwarping and its equivalents, Glenn Curtiss had his Buffalo, NY, factory built the Duck from Goupil's original patent drawings and a description in La Locomotion Aerienne. Curtiss put it first on wheels instead of skids like the original, and then on the original Langley floats, and then again on wheels. Powered by a Curtiss OXX-6, it flew on 19 January 1917, succeeding first in a straight and level flight, and then in a circle. As with his rebuilt Langley Aerodrome, Curtiss made some significant changes in the original design - control linkages, engine - and longer wings than what Goupil seems to have intended. But Curtiss never made use of his "evidence" that the Wrights were not the first to invent lateral control: the famous Curtiss-Wright patent fight was settled by arbitration as World War I approached.
P.Bowers Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947 (Putnam)
The odd-looking Duck of 1916-17 was the result of further Curtiss attempts to invalidate the Wright patent. The design was originated and patented in 1883 by a Frenchman, Alexander Goupil, and showed surprisingly modern lines and features. While Goupil did not build his design because of lack of a suitable powerplant, he clearly recognized the need for three axes of mechanical control. Lateral control was by means of auxiliary surfaces that functioned exactly like latter-day ailerons.
Working from Goupil's patent drawings, Curtiss Project Engineer N. W. Dalton revised the design only enough to make it structurally sound and added a conventional undercarriage in place of Goupil's skids. The Duck was powered with a Curtiss OXX engine buried in the fuselage at the centre of gravity and drove a tractor propeller through an extension shaft. Built in Buffalo, the Duck was first tried at Hammondsport on the old Langley floats. Barely able to hop off the water with their weight, it was shipped to Newport News, fitted with wheel undercarriage, and flew successfully on 19 January, 1917.
Форум Breguet's Aircraft Challenge
Alexandre Goupil was a French engineer of note who designed a bird-like flying machine in 1883. The sesquiplane (a monoplane with additional "half-wings") was to be powered by a steam engine (mounted within the deep rounded body of the machine) driving a single tractor propeller and was to have wheeled landing gear. A rudder was to be mounted below the horizontal tail surface.
Goupil built and tested an unpowered version of his design, with a wing span of just over 19 feet 8 inches, in December of that same year. The test machine exhibited considerable lift, hoisting itself and two men into the air while under test in a wind of about 14 m.p.h.
The Goupil design has often been referred to as the "Goupil Duck" but it appears that this name was applied later by others.
In 1884 Goupil published "La Locomotion Aerienne" which summarized his aeronautical work and presented his theories and observations. The book was very well received. Of particular interest was Goupil's use of a complex lifting surface which was a close approximation of a bird wing rather than a simple curved lifting wing. Goupil's design foreshadowed modern "blended lifting body" configurations. He planned to continue his research and experimentation with steam engine powered flying machines having large bird-like wings, but it is unclear if he did so.
In 1916 Glenn Curtiss built a Curtiss OXX-powered version of Goupil's design (see below) as part of the ongoing patent suit between the Wright Company and himself, but that aspect of Goupil's story is beyond the scope of this web site.