The Flying Maschine: Its Evolution through the Ages

A.Andrews - The Flying Maschine: Its Evolution through the Ages /Putnam/

The De Havilland II, the aeroplane which Geoffrey de Havilland successfully launched in 1910, and which successfully launched him on his career as designer, test pilot, and constructor. When Sir Geoffrey died in 1965 at the age of 83 his ashes were scattered, by his request, over the airfield at Beacon Hill near Newbury, where the man who had built the DH4, the Moth, the Mosquito, the Vampire and the Comet had tested and flown his original practical aircraft.
The first undisputed truly stable generalpurpose aeroplane, the prototype BE2c of 1913
The Bleriot XI (mod) of 1909, with the characteristic open fuselage adopted by the designer at this time, was the first machine in Europe to achieve efficient lateral control by the application of wingwarping. In this machine Bleriot made his historic flight across the English Channel.
The Bolshoi, a four-engined cabined aircraft built in Russia by Igor Sikorsky in 1913, led big-aircraft thinking. It swiftly came back from the drawing board as the Ilya Mourometz with a capacity of sixteen people aboard.
Louis Breguets biplane, the Breguet I, clearly derived from the Pischoff I, had a tractor propeller, wings of unequal span, twin rear rudders, and wing-warping for both lateral control and elevation. The machine was very influential because it received much attention, on the ground, at the great formative Reims Aviation Week of 1909. Its actual performance at the Reims meeting was not so distinguished. While Henry Farman was flying 180km in his biplane, the Breguet made three short flights of which the maximum distance was 500m, and it crash-landed after being airborne for 300m on the last attempt.
Much more lovingly based on Henson's Aerial Steamer was Alexander Mozhaiski's steam-powered monoplane. It took off by plunging down a ski-jump ramp in 1884 - and sailed on for far less distance than a modern ski-jumper. An English steam engine drove a large tractor propeller backed by two smaller pusher propellers cut into the trailing-edges of the main-plane. Its untrained pilot could take little action, except to pray.
Weisss swept-back wing were a feature of the Handley-Page Yellow Peril of 1911.
Weiss was later snapped up by Sir Frederick Handley-Page to design his companys early machine.
Ader brought in two 20hp steam engines to drive his Avion III, again of simulated bat-wing construction, with variable sweep-back wings intended to shift the centre of pressure during flight. Ader falsely claimed that he flew for 300m in this machine in 1897. Avion III was constructed as the result of a commission from the French War Ministry, the first indication by any government of a practical interest, backed by central finance, in the development of the flying machine. This picture is faked.
Before maturing as an outstanding theoretician of space flight (as early as 1912), Esnault-Pelterie had progressed from gliding to build some effective unconventional aircraft like this REP2 of 1908 - which, curiously, had no ailerons but used a primitive form of wing-warping.
A prize of 50,000 francs went to Henry Farman for the execution, on 13 January 1908, of the first kilometre return-to-base flight in Europe, achieved in his Voisin-Farman I (mod) biplane. Since Farman was not to adopt lateral control for another 9 months he could make no sharp turn and, once past the starting pylon, he had to fly in a banked attitude following a steady circle throughout.
Having modified his previous modification to produce the Voisin-Farman I-bis (mod) with four side-curtains between the wings, and putting up a creditable 40km flight with this adaptation, Henry Farman saw the light regarding lateral control, which was making the flying of Wilbur Wright the envy of all French airmen, and he installed four broad wing-tip ailerons in his revised model, the Voisin-Farman I-bis (2nd mod). Later he used neater ailerons in his first signed aircraft, the classic Henry Farman III.
The Standard Voisin pusher biplane seen here, a box-kite construction with front elevators and side-curtains to aid its already formidable stability, was the unexciting all-purpose Ford Model T of the air for some years. But it was overdue back at the drawing board because of its then retrogressive design. It was very easy to fly so long as the pilot wanted only to go in a straight line.
Wilbur Wrights first public flight in France in August 1908, at Hunandieres, near Le Mans, before he transferred to the neighbouring military camp at Auvours. This Wright A, the 1908 refinement of the 1905 Flyer III, was the model used by Orville and Wilbur Wright for their demonstrations to the Governments of the United States and France of the potentialities of flight a la Wright. The A-type was a two-seater pusher biplane with wing-span of 41ft, chord 6.5ft, area 510sq ft, forward elevator area 70sq ft, powered by a Wright four-cylinder 30hp engine driving twin propellers at 420rpm, and attaining a speed of up to 40mph. It was launched by the Wrights peculiar derrick-and-weight method, illustrated here at Auvours.
The shape in the sky which proclaimed that practical flying had been achieved: the Wrights Flyer III, with wing-span 40ft 6in and area 503sq ft, the wings cambered 1 in 20 and set flat, without dihedral or anhedral, biplane forward elevator and twin rudders, new propellers and the tested 16hp Wright engine. The flight photographed here took place on 19 September 1905. In the next modification of Flyer III the hip-cradle was abandoned, the pilot sat upright and there was a second seat, and rudder and wing-warping were controlled by hand levers and cables.
The first popular light aircraft, Santos-Dumonts Demoiselle in 1909, at Issy. The designer had utilised an effective Chauviere propeller and the machines top speed was 90km per hour. The wingspan was 10sq m. The cruciform tail unit, acting as rudder and elevator, was fixed by a universal joint, operated by handlever. Lateral control was through wing-warping operated by a rocking lever strapped to the (sitting) pilots waist.
The Goupy I triplane, built by the Voisins to the design of Ambroise Goupy, had a wing-span of 7 1/2 m and a weight, including its eight-cylinder 50hp Renault engine, of 500kg. Its best performance under test in 1908 at Issy was a hop of 150m, but it inspired other designers.
British Army Aeroplane No 1, flown by S. F. Cody to his great surprise as the first aeroplane to fly in Great Britain, had a Wright-type biplane configuration, but ran on a wheeled undercarriage and required no assisted take-off. There were forward elevators and a rear rudder. Cody also fitted between-wing ailerons. A 40-50hp Antoinette engine drove two pusher propellers.
The Aerial Steam Carriage, the aircraft that never was but which crystallised in Victorian hearts the conviction that man would fly in their lifetime. This influential phantom, illustrated in magazines all over the world, did more to condition stolid humanity that it was no longer earthbound than any nicely calculated hypothesis of the devoted thinkers who made the achievement possible. Ariel had cambered wings measuring 150ft by 30ft, a mobile tailplane working as elevator, and a 25hp steam engine operating two six-bladed pusher airscrews. The tricycle undercarriage was fitted with Cayleys tension wheels. The payload was light, possibly 1,000lb.
June Bug, designed by Glenn Curtiss for the AEA series, and piloted by Curtiss in this photograph, was flying within a month of the crash of its predecessor and eventually achieved a 2-mile flight on 29 August 1908. The characteristic bowed effect of the mainplanes is visible. June Bug had a biplane tail unit and four triangular wing-tip ailerons. The Wrights promptly accused Curtiss of infringing their wing-warping patents with his ailerons, and the bitter legal wrangle went on for years.
The Roe II triplane of 1909, called contemporarily the Bullseye and built after its designer (later Sir Alliott Verdon Roe of AVRO) had seen drawings of the Goupy I, marks a typical sequence in the back to the drawing board aspect of aeronautical progress. The Roe II flew for 300yd with a 9hp JAP engine driving a tractor propeller whose revolutions were reduced by gearing in the Wright manner. Then it crashed on Hackney Marshes. Roe picked himself out of the wreckage, pulled the peak of his cap to the front, and went back to other triplanes, some of which also crashed. The Roe III is illustrated The last of them was the Roe IV of 1911, distinguishable among other features by its monoplane tail, and very much taken to the heart of the British public.
Percy Sinclair Pilcher in flight with his best designed hang-glider, the Hawk, 1896. The undercarriage wheels are not too clearly evident in this picture. Pilchers best flight in this machine was 250yd, and he died when it crashed in 1899.
Golden Flier, the Curtiss machine designed independently of the AEA, and flown in the spring and summer of 1909, had flat unbowed biplane wings with substantial between-wing ailerons - Curtiss interim effort to avoid any suggestion of infringing the Wrights warp-wing patent.
The Wrights No 1 glider, 1900, being flown as a tethered kite, the wing-warping not being adjustable in flight. What they called the horizontal rudder - the horizontal adjustable forward elevator - is not obvious because of the angle of the photograph.
The Wrights No 2 glider of 1901 had an anhedral droop to the wings and the pilot lay in a hip cradle by which he controlled wing-warping.
The launching technique for the Wright gliders, in this case their No 3 of 1902 after modification that substituted a single rear rudder for the previous two fixed fins.
Artistically a most evocative composition, explains some of the great influence he exerted in presenting the grace and release of soaring flight.
The Flight of Birds as the Basis for the Art of Flying was the theoretical work published by Otto Lilienthal in which he published his rediscovery of the fact ignored since Cayley had demonstrated it, that the outer primary feathers of a birds wings screw into the forward air and achieve the onward drive in flying. Lilienthal duplicated these outer primaries - there are six in each wing - and intended to activate them as individual airscrews by a small portable gas engine. (He was professionally a specialist in light steam engines.) But in this picture the contraption is being used solely as a hang-glider. Lilienthal eventually favoured the biplane glider as giving the required lift with more manageable control.
Three-quarter view of the Dunne aeroplane from behind. This is the best general view of the machine that it was possible to obtain, since it alone gives the correct impression of the slope back of the main planes. The twist of the surfaces caused by their peculiar camber is very noticeable in the right-hand upper deck, which also indicates the diverging gap.
The Dunne D5 twin-propeller pusher tail-less biplane of 1910 was powered by a 60hp Green engine driving propellers 7ft in diameter. It took a crew of two in a boat-shaped nacelle. It was the culmination of a long series of experiments by J. W. Dunne on tail-less aircraft, and led on much later to modern delta-wing designs. Demonstrating that it fulfilled his design objective of extreme stability, Dunne (who was not officially allowed to fly as a pilot because of a heart condition) took the machine up with Orville Wrights patent agent aboard, and flew it hands off while he wrote out specification details on a scribbling pad.
This replica of the cuddly Roe IV was built for the film Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, and still flies under the aegis of the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden, Bedfordshire.
The Wrights powered aeroplane, Flyer No 1, with Wilbur Wright in the hipcradle, shows the chain drives, crossed on the left for counter-rotation, which reduced the pusher propeller speeds in relation to engine speed.
Wilbur in the 1903 Flyer after the abortive flight attempt of 14 December. Note the damaged front elevator supports.
The successful one-off 12hp Wright aero-engine of 1903, designed from scratch by Orville and Wilbur Wright arid installed in the Wright Flyer I to make the machine the first aeroplane to achieve controlled powered flight: a front view of its original installation.
Working at the same time and on the same principle of the mastery of flight control as Lilienthal and Pilcher, Octave Chanute was too old at 64 to go aloft himself in this biplane hang-glider built in 1896.
Alberto Santos-Dumonts 14-bis in flight on 23 October 1906, the first considerable and witnessed aeroplane flight in Europe. The machine, which is going from left to right in the picture, had pronounced dihedral box-kite wings with an area of 52sq m. A 25hp Antoinette engine originally drove a 2 1/2 m diameter pusher propeller at 900rpm, but for this, its second free flight, a 50hp Antoinette was substituted. The forward box-elevator pivoted vertically. Santos-Dumont is standing in a wicker basket and he is wearing a body-harness which in the following month he adapted to control octagonal ailerons between the wing-tips, leaning to right or left to establish some lateral control. In this finally-modified 14-bis he made a record flight of 220m, but crashed the next time he took the machine up. That was the end of the 14-bis - typical of the short life of aircraft types in the 1900s.
Hiram S. Maxims 8,000lb flying machine (strictly, a lift test-rig) powered by two 181 hp steam engines and manned by a crew of four. In 1894 it took off, without directional steering, and was airborne for some 600ft.
Members of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain with Hiram Maxims Flying Machine, 1894. At this time Otto Lilienthal, the greatest man in aeronautics before the Wright brothers, was building a new carbonic acid gas engine to attempt powered flight. He died in 1896 from a broken spine after stalling in a monoplane glider while advancing his experiments to achieve responsible control of an aeroplane in flight - a necessity which only he and the Wrights then fully recognised.
Maxim stands impotently at the throttles after his machine had soared higher than intended (that is, over 2ft altitude) and the restraining frame broke up and fouled an airscrew, 31 July 1894.
The first Venetian blind multiplane test-rig of Horatio Phillips, constructed in 1893, ran on a circular track and showed good powers of lift, but not enough longitudinal balance to take the machine in a steady ascent from the ground. Forty aerofoils, 19ft long, were designed to a shape that Phillips had patented.
Tandem-winged with attractive dihedral, but still with negative flight control, Langleys Aerodrome A, Charles Manly up, falls at the first water-jump on the Potomac, 7 October 1903.
Paul Cornus experimental powered helicopter was the first to raise a man (marginally) on 13 November 1909.
The Vuia monoplane, which was bouncing about the fields near Paris in 1906 and 1907, was the last notable aeroplane to be powered by a carbonic acid motor - in this case made by Serpollet, who had a reputation for steam engines. Lilienthal had installed two carbonic acid gas motors in glider-cum-ornithopter machines in 1893 and later in 1895, but had not tested them in 1896, at the time when he stalled his pure glider No 11 and crashed, and subsequently died. The Vuia aircraft was far more important as being the worlds first full-size conventionally shaped monoplane - influencing many contemporary designers - and it was also the first machine in Europe with pneumatically tyred wheels. The carbonic acid motor did work, up to a point. The machine made several recorded hops, the longest being 24m.
Qantas reconstruction of Cayleys boy carrier, or Old Flyer, the triplane in which he floated a ten-year-old off the ground in 1849, the first time a human being had left the ground in a heavier-than-air machine. The wing-span was 10ft, overall length and height 20ft.
Sir George Cayleys model glider of 1804, seen here in accurate reconstruction, offered roughly twice the wing area, and had its cruciform tail unit set at a positive angle of 11 1/2 degrees to the rod forming the main horizontal beam, and the kite-form mainplane set at 6 degrees to this beam. Cayley wrote, with some exaggeration, that with this configuration it would proceed uniformly in a right line for ever. Penauds Planophore, which did not proceed for ever but did fly 131ft in 11 seconds before the gravest technical witnesses, enshrined in the minds of the French, who were the most serious aircraft designers in Europe, the ideal of predominant equilibrium, or inherent stability, which culminated in the BE2c of Great Britain.
Cayleys design, engraved on a silver disk, of his first aeroplane - a fixed-wing biplane with a kite-form tail unit. The aircraft is propelled by paddles, graphically separating thrust from lift.
Jacob Degen in his balloon-hopping, wing-flapping kit, 1809. The full diagram shows that Cayley was deceived, and Degen was not fully supported by his wings.
Jacob Degen with his manually operated flapping wings. A similar sketch was sent by Lord Mahon to Sir George Cayley in 1810 and convinced Cayley that flappers were the preferable means of propulsion of airships and aeroplanes.
Le Bris second albatross-winged glider, seen on its launching cart. It crashed in 1868.
A reconstructed model (made for the Qantas History of Flight collection) of du Temples full-size powered aircraft of 1874, the first to take off carrying a man. It had a retractable tricycle undercarriage. The wingspan was 117ft 8in, the length 53ft 5in.
A reliable impression of du Temples power-driven aircraft in which a pilot was launched down a ramp into a powered take-off (but not sustained flight) in 1874. At some stage a steam engine was fitted as power unit to the machine which had swept-forward wings enclosing a tractor propeller, and a rudder beneath the kite-form tailplane.
In 1857 Felix du Temple flew the first powered model aircraft to take off under its own steam (literally) and land without damage. Immediately he registered a patent for this beautifully designed full-size aircraft.
A very advanced light steam engine developing some 20hp drove Clement Aders eerie bat-winged Eole, which took off from level ground in 1890 with Ader fussing over complicated controls that were intended to reproduce many of the movements of the bats wing except actual flapping. Airborne for only 50m, and as blind as a bat because he had placed the pilots seat behind a tall boiler, Ader had no time to test these mechanical aids.
Lawrence Hargraves box-kite, invented in Australia in 1893, was belatedly seized on by many European constructors in the 1900s. The odd-looking aeroplanes that incorporated its cellular principle had undoubted stability.
Captain Ferdinand Ferber, of the French Artillery, was 36 years old when Otto Lilienthal was killed, and he alone in France, with.Pilcher in England, had the understanding, the ambition and the youth to consider powered flight within his personal reach. In 1901 he built a Lilienthal-type hang-glider and began jumping off 20ft-high scaffolding to practise with it. But at the end of that year, through correspondence with Chanute, he learned of the work of the Wrights and built a Wright-type glider, basing his design on photographs Chanute had sent him. But he did not comprehend either the theory or the practice of the Wrights concerning control in roll, and did not incorporate wing-warping. His slightly improved version of his original glider, built in 1903, had two wing-tip rudders - affording him in reality no extra control - but he was so over-confident after soaring in it that he declared he was now ready to install a motor. His powered version of this Wright-type glider was a complete failure. During the next year, 1904, he recast his thinking and decided to aim for inherent stability by adding a tailplane to his design. When this picture of Ferber flying in his new machine was published in 1905, it had great influence in swinging European designers towards the Wright-type configuration of aeroplane, but in combination with the old-world reversion to attempted inherent stability. As a mood picture this conveys most seductively the exhilaration of flight. It will be judged that the flapping wing-tip rudders were giving Ferber no more control than a couple of burgees.
The Bleriot VII of 1907, a classic-styled cantilever monoplane, increased Bleriots airborne record to 500m.
Leon Levavasseur, first an artist then a designer of the Antoinette engine, which he named after the daughter of his partner Jules Gastambide, put the first Antoinette driving two four-bladed propellers in a large monoplane, which he designed in the shape of a bird and tested unsuccessfully in 1903. Levavasseur retired to develop his engine in racing motorboats. He came back to aeronautics in 1908 when he designed the Gastambide-Mengin I which crash-landed after eight days of trial - quite a normal life for an aircraft of that period. But this was developed into the Antoinette series of aeroplanes, which confirmed Levavasseurs position as a brilliant designer of pure aircraft as well as of engines.
One of the versions of the Bleriot VIII with pivoted wing-tip elevons.
Goupils monoplane of 1884 was designed to duplicate the body of a bird as well as its wings. The novel feature was the inclusion - separately placed and not set in the wings - of elevons, the projecting control surfaces intended to act not only as elevators but as opposite-acting ailerons for control of roll. But they were not linked to the rudder action. Goupils steam engine intended as the power plant for this graceful machine was built but never installed in the airframe. But in 1917 Glenn Curtiss, who was trying to break the Wright patents on wing-warping - which the Wrights had said as early as 1908 included wing-tip ailerons - reconstructed the Goupil machine with a petrol engine and flew it. Between-wings ailerons in a biplane (most nearly corresponding to Goupils design for the monoplane) had been adopted by Curtiss much earlier.
A hundred necks have to be broken, warned Sir George Cayley, and this machine caused the first. Francois Letur had made several successful gliding descents from a balloon in this canopy-wing glider with additional flappers. He gave a display at the Cremorne Gardens - Cayley had also declared that there was no money to be made out of aeronautics except from fairground exhibitions. He was trying to right a defect in the balloon when the wind dashed him against some trees. He died of his injuries a week later, in July 1854.
Bleriots No VI Libellule (Dragonfly), which hopped 150m in 1907.
Ferdinand Ferber, though always pluckily trying to design a winner, never succeeded in building a powered aeroplane that did more than hop, and when in desperation he bought a Standard Voisin in 1909, he hit a ditch at speed between a landing and a second take-off at Boulogne, and was killed.
The finished design for a twin helicopter, subsequently propelled by twin airscrews, which Sir George Cayley claimed to have invented. The rotor blades of the dihedrally-set (ie, V-inclined) disk wings are, at flying altitude, mechanically closed to form planes - like a very flat umbrella, wrote Cayley, repeating Taylors original words. Twin airscrews of the same shape as Taylors (which could not have been projected before Ericssons work was published in 1839) push the aircraft forwards. The car is pure Cayley.
Moy's Aerial Steamer, a 15ft wing-span model weighing 120lb with a 3hp steam engine, ran like a dog on a leash round a circular track in 1875. It did lift off, but never flew.
The Phillips multiplane of 1907 may well have been the first British powered aircraft to fly.
Phillips No.5 multiplane was airborne at Streatham for a 500ft straight flight and for circular flights anchored to a pole in 1907.
Stringfellows fresh design of a steam-powered model based on Hensons Aerial Steamer, demonstrated in 1848 and flown off an overhead wire, was for long thought to have made the first genuine mechanical flight in history.
Stringfellows triplane, following the suggestion of Cayley, which was exhibited in 1868, and had a powerful influence on future design.
Another artist - the Alsatian Jose Weiss, who was domiciled in England - showed heartening understanding of the properties of the aerofoil in this thickening bird-wing model glider, which he exhibited in 1905.
Red Wing, first of the American AEA series sponsored by the Aerial Experiment Association, was designed by Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge and flew on 12 March 1908, only 6 months before Selfridge died - the first casualty in history as a result of powered flight - when Orville Wright, piloting with Selfridge as passenger, saw his machine break up around him at Fort Myer on 17 September 1908. Red Wing, like its immediate successors, had a 30-40hp Curtiss air-cooled V-8 engine. It is seen fitted with skids for take-off from the ice-bound surface of Lake Keuka, NY. F. W. Baldwin, who took it up for a flight of 319ft, was the first Canadian ever to fly. Like the mayfly, Red Wing had a life of less than a day. When it crash-landed after its second flight, it was abandoned after the engine had been salvaged - an unplanned and undesired obsolescence that was accepted philosophically by the early pioneers.
Pancake landing imminent: the Marquis de Bacqueville somewhat fancifully frozen in mid-flight between the Quai Voltaire and the waters of the Seine, 1742.
Robert Taylors rough sketch, sent to Sir George Cayley, of a machine to combine forward propulsion with vertical ascent. The vanes of the contra-rotating rotors lift the craft as in Fig 2. When the required height is reached the vanes merge into one plane as in Fig 1 - my machine will resemble an immense flat umbrella, said Taylor - and the airscrew pushes the craft forward. The design of the airscrew is based on the new ships propeller recently introduced by John Ericsson (the screw-propelled Great Britain did not make her first Atlantic crossing until 1845). The propeller mechanism is operated from the car in the handle of the umbrella. Taylor believed that the power for his engine would be derived from electro-magnetism - from which can be obtained from five to ten horse power in the space of an ordinary ladys band box.
Powered by blank revolver cartridges, Gustave Trouves model ornithopter flew 60m in 1870, the wings being flapped by the action of the pistol shots straightening out Bourdon tubes.
J C H Ellehammer, the often under-rated Danish pioneer, with his helicopter in 1912. The craft lifted from the ground but failed to fly.