K.Molson, H.Taylor Canadian Aircraft since 1909 (Putnam)
Bell Cygnet II and III
Dr Bell’s next experimental powered aircraft was the Oionus I (qv) and while this incorporated some tetrahedral ideas he still wanted to try a powered version of his tetrahedral kite. Construction of the new machine, the Cygnet III, took place during the winter of 1911-12 and was largely the responsibility of J. A. D. McCurdy. McCurdy had been flying with the Curtiss Exhibition Team and had returned, briefly, to Baddeck.
McCurdy was influenced in the layout of the aircraft by his experience with the latest Curtiss pushers. The Cygnet III had a bank of 360 tetrahedral cells mounted on a typical Curtiss running gear of the period. It was also planned to add additional sections of cells, one at each tip, with 126 cells in each, if more lift was found to be required. There was a forward monoplane elevator and at the rear was a fixed horizontal monoplane tail with movable elevators which worked in conjunction with the forward elevator, an arrangement also borrowed from Curtiss. A conventional vertical rudder was mounted at the rear. A typical Curtiss control column was provided for the pilot but there was no lateral control. The bank of cells was cut away at the centre to accommodate a seven-cylinder 70 hp Gnome rotary engine driving a pusher propeller. The machine was named the Cygnet III.
The first trial of Cygnet III was on 26 February, 1912, on the ice at Baddeck Bay, and the machine did not have the additional tip extensions. McCurdy attempted a turn during the ground run and a wing hit the ice and was damaged. There was another trial on 9 March when McCurdy succeeded in lifting the machine off but only for about a foot (30 cm). On 17 March he again tried the Cygnet III and on the second run the tetrahedral cell bank failed structurally and the two sides folded upwards. There were no further attempts to fly the aircraft.
Both the Cygnet II and III were built by Beinn Breagh Laboratory. Beinn Breagh. Gaelic for Mountain Beautiful and pronounced similarly to Ben Vreeah, was the name of Dr Alexander Graham Bell's estate at Baddeck.
One 70 hp Gnome Gamma. Span at top 8 m (26 ft 3 in), span at bottom 6 m (19 ft 8? in). Loaded weight 700lb (317-8kg). Speed 43mph (69-2 km/h).
Both aircraft were designed to metric dimensions.