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)
Weiss Tractor Monoplane No. 2
The second of Jose Weiss's tractor monoplanes, Sylvia, was slightly larger than the first, and following earlier trials at Littlehampton, appeared at Brooklands during 1910 for testing by E. C. Gordon England. The main difference between the two machines was that the second was fitted with a normal monoplane type of tail unit, complete with fixed fin and a rudder. The engine employed was the eight-cylinder 40 h.p. E.N.V. "D", which had its attendant radiator mounted underneath the fore-part of the fuselage.
The fuselage itself consisted mainly of a bamboo framework which had its joints lashed together with twine, the engine being carried on a steel-tubing structure at the front. A fixed undercarriage was used and comprised two main wheels augmented by a smaller pair carried at the front of the twin skids. The remainder of the landing-gear consisted of a curved skid to support the tail.
Gordon England managed to make some successful flights at Brooklands with the machine, but eventually, on 22nd December, 1910, it was landed in the notorious sewage farm near by which claimed so many unwilling victims at the time; breakage of the wing bracing struts had caused loss of control.
Description: Single-seat tractor monoplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
Manufacturer: Jose Weiss, Amberley, Sussex.
Power Plant: 40 h.p. E.N.V. "D".
Dimensions: Span, 34 ft. Length, 23 ft. Wing area, 164 sq. ft.
Weights: Loaded, 750 lb.
Flight, January 14, 1911
THE WEISS MONOPLANE.
In a recent number of FLIGHT you state that I found the "Weiss" monoplane rather hard to turn. This was not so. In fact I found that it commenced very well, canting over to its own angle and maintaining its balance. The cause of my finding a roost in the softest part of the sewage farm was due to two compression struts not being up to their work.
The machine was otherwise most remarkable as a flyer, being as light as snow on the controls, and very steady. As you doubtless know, the Weiss has no warping or ailerons.
Shed 19, Brooklands. ERIC C. GORDON ENGLAND.
[We are extremely glad to have Mr. England's assurance, as we have great admiration for the perseverance of those associated with the Weiss machine. Possibly the distance somewhat deceived our correspondent in regard to his impressions.-ED.].
Flight, June 17, 1911.
THE WEISS MONOPLANE.
WHETHER from the point of view of construction or design, there is no more interesting machine at Brooklands to-day than the Weiss monoplane, which is British built, not to say home made, and is the outcome of many years' painstaking experimental work on the part of Mr. Jose Weiss, who was one of the earliest and likewise one of the most persistent investigators of that branch of aerodynamics concerned with the principle of automatic stability. It is to this side of the problem of flight that Mr. Weiss has devoted most of his energy and model after model was made an flown on the hillside near Arundel long before the habitu?s of Brooklands received him and Mr. Cordon-England, who piloted a man-lifting model of that period, as newcomers amongst them.
The Weiss monoplane is, therefore, primarily interesting in that it embodies the results of Mr. Weiss's search after this elusive quality of natural stability. This attribute of the Weiss monoplane lies in the shape of the wings and in the balance of the machine as a whole. Equilibrium is the coincidence of the centre of pressure with the vertical axis through the centre of gravity; natural stability is the quality of maintaining equilibrium under disturbing influences, and it is the function of the peculiar shape of the wings on the Weiss monoplane to confer natural stability in flight. These wings and the balance of the machine are the result of the innumerable aforementioned experiments. The wings themselves are characterised by a marked change of angle and attitude from shoulder to tip. Near the body they have a very steep camber and an attitude represented by a positive angle of incidence of about 5°. At the extremities they are flexible and flat and their tips are upturned in such a way that the attitude hereabouts presents a distinct negative angle of incidence. In addition, the entering edge of each wing slopes back from the shoulder to the tip, where it joins the trailing edge. Only 4 ft. behind the trailing edge is the commencement of the tail, which is a squat arrangement of two triangular planes, horizontal and vertical, with hinged extensions forming an elevator and rudder. These latter members are operated by a lever and pedal-bar respectively; they are intended to be organs of direction and not organs of control in the sense of balance, and it is, of course, a feature of the Weiss monoplane that there is no provision for mechanically correcting lateral disturbance by the use of wing-warping or balancing planes.
Constructionally, the Weiss monoplane is as interesting as it is in design, for almost the entire machine is built of bamboo and the joints are for the most part only lashed with twine, although the bamboo diagonals, which are used as struts, have a steel angle-plate joint introduced into the lashing in a manner that is illustrated by one of the accompanying sketches. It will be observed in this detail illustration of the frame-joint that the diagonals are lashed and pegged to the angle-plate, which thus forms the actual connection between the two members. A modification of this system of construction may be observed in the sketch illustrating how the bamboo diagonals that truss the wing-spars to the under-carriage are attached by ferrule-plates, lashed and pegged in place and provided with a hinged adjustment bolt. The mounting of the rudder also affords an interesting example of lashing, and an ingenious detail that will be observed in this case is the introduction of a smooth distance-piece of wood between the two bamboo members. This distance-piece holds the two pieces of bamboo sufficiently far apart so that the knots in the bamboo are clear of one another, As the rudder turns on this hinge it rolls over on the distance-piece and the lashing remains taut in all positions, because during the movement it merely unwinds off one member on the other.
Not only the body, but also the spars of the wings are made of bamboo on this machine and the manner in which the bamboo ribs are attached to the spars is illustrated in detail in one of the accompanying sketches. It will be observed that the wings have three spars in each and that the ribs are so deep in the centre that the lower rib member has to be specially strutted at this point in order to enable the central main spar to afford it any support. The main spar themselves are attached to the body by ash spigots that are fastened into the bamboo and engage with the tubular steel transverse members that form the front of the body, and also serve as a support for the 8-cyl. E.N.V. engine with which this machine is equipped. The engine, as may also be observed from one of the accompanying sketches, is carried in a steel cradle slung from the same transverse steel tubes that support the wings. The body itself is mounted on an A type carriage, of which the principal members are constructed of ash; its diagonals, however, are made of bamboo. The skids of the under-carriage are suspended to a steel axle, supported on two wire wheels by elastic springs. Between the under-carriage and the engine, fastened to the bottom of the body, is the radiator, which may be seen in the photograph showing the front of the machine.