C.Jerzy Polish Aircraft 1893-1939 (Putnam)
The second of the Plage designs, which he evolved jointly with the German engineer Court, and acclaimed by the contemporary German press as one of the most interesting and advanced aircraft to appear in Germany in 1911, was called the Torpedo Monoplane because of its exceptionally clean shape. It was constructed in the Max Leuchner Kuhlsteins Wagenbau catbody factory and completed in October 1911.
The machine, a two-seater intended for military purposes as well as for cross-country and high-performance flying, represented a new concept in aerodynamic and structural design. With the greatest emphasis laid upon the reduction of drag and upon protection of the crew in case of a crash landing, careful thought was given to every small detail. On the score of elegance and beauty of line the resulting aircraft had no equal among its contemporaries. The German army authorities expressed considerable interest in the machine, which at their request was delivered to Doberitz for military trials. Unfortunately, nothing further was heard of the Torpedo Monoplane after the very favourable initial press reports.
Construction: The Torpedo Monoplane was a two-seat military or high-performance machine of wooden construction. The wing, of cambered aerofoil section and with an area of 26 sq m (279.9 sq ft), was attached to the fuselage upper longerons and braced with steel wires to a steel-tube pyramid on top of the fuselage and below to the undercarriage framework. The wing was a divided multi-spar structure, both the spars and the ribs being made of ash, and was covered with fabric which was doped with glue. Each wing panel, with a rounded tip and slightly increased chord at the root, had a span of 5.5 m (18 ft 0 3/4 in) and a basic chord of 2.6 m (8 ft 6 3/4 in), and was set at a pronounced dihedral angle. Each wing was provided with a window between the spars at the root to permit the pilot to see the ground during landing. The wing could be completely detached in 10-12 min.
The fuselage, a streamlined structure of ash, was built-up of four longerons and a number of circular frames, its rear section tapering to a fine point. Its forward section, up to the radiators, was covered with duralumin panels, which were hinged to permit easy inspection of the engine and its installations. Aft of the radiators the fuselage was covered with fabric. The raised pilot's seat was situated in the centre and the passenger's cockpit under the wing-bracing pyramid, some distance in front, at the C.G. The wing warping and the elevator were operated by a steering column with a steering wheel, and the rudders by a rudder bar. Dual controls could be fitted. The tail unit, of cruciform configuration, comprised two identical fin and rudder surfaces above and below which were attached to a vertical steel tube filled with solid wood for strength, a divided tailplane and a one-piece elevator with an area of 4.5 sq m (484 sq ft). All the tail surfaces could be quickly detached for transport. The landing gear, of very simple and neat divided design, incorporated two mainwheels and a tailskid.
Power was supplied by a 70 hp Argus four-cylinder inline water-cooled engine, carried on a steel-tube mounting and driving a two-blade tractor airscrew with a diameter of 2.6 m (8 ft 6 3/4 in). The airscrew was provided with a large-diameter spinner which formed the aerodynamic extension of the fuselage nose contour. The two Windhoff aluminium radiators, weighing with water a mere 16 kg (35 lb), were specially designed for the machine and inset into the fuselage sides (under the wing) so as to provide the maximum cooling area with the minimum of drag. A very advanced fuel system incorporated two fuel tanks with a total capacity of 110 litres (24.1 Imp gal), one in front of the passenger seat on top of the fuselage and the other inside between the pilot's and passengers seats, and a small 8 litre (1.7 Imp gal) reserve tank which gave the pilot time to look for a suitable landing ground when the fuel gauge showed 'tanks empty'. The Torpedo Monoplane had an overall span of 11.6 m (38 ft 0 3/4 in), a length of 9.7 m (31 ft 10 in) and a wing area of 29 sq m (312.15 sq ft). Its estimated maximum speed was 130 km h (80.7 mph) and range 500 km (311 miles). No other data are available.