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)
Wong Tong Mei
The Tong Mei or Dragon Fly was a single-seat tractor biplane designed by a Chinese, Tsoe K. Wong, and built and tested at Shoreham during the early part of 1913. Two-bay wings were fitted, with inverse taper on the outer panels outboard of the inner interplane struts. The intention was for the machine to be produced later by Wong in China. A four-cylinder 40 h.p. A.B.C. engine provided the power for the 8 ft. 6 ins. diameter propeller. Span, 30 ft. Length, 30 ft. Wing area, 304 sq. ft. Weight empty, 504 lb. Endurance, 3.5 hrs.
Wong Two-seat Biplane
The Wong two-seat tractor biplane was a development of the single-seat Tong Mei and was constructed in 1914 by Tsoe K. Wong. The engine was a 100 h.p. Anzani. During December, 1913, the company of T. K. Wong Ltd. was formed with T. K. Wong, W. F. Skene and E. H. Lawford as directors.
Flight, May 31, 1913.
THE "TONG-MEI" 40-H.P. BIPLANE.
THE "Tong-mei" tractor biplane, which is now being tested at the Shoreham aerodrome, is a good example of the light single-seater aeroplane, and is somewhat reminiscent of the BE 3 - the highly-staggered planes, deep fuselage and simple landing gear giving this impression.
The plane outline is not common in this country, the trailing-edge being swept back slightly from the second rear strut to the extreme wing-tip, the idea being to gain increased warp efficiency.
A simple and neat hinge is fitted to the rear spar, to lessen fatigue.
The planes are mounted on twelve silver spruce silk-bound struts, shaped to the "Baby" section, as recommended by the National Physical Laboratory.
A particularly good feature is the rib construction, each rib is built up of three laminations of spruce layered together with glue and rivets on a former, the resulting curve being absolutely permanent, and the finished rib is a great deal stronger than one of the ordinary type.
The trailing edge of the upper plane is cut away, above the body, to lessen down draught on the tail.
The outline of the empennage gives a graceful effect, quite in harmony with the rest of the machine. The almost semicircular tail has a slightly cambered top-surface. The 7-ft. 4-in. elevator is built in one piece to give high efficiency, and for a measure of safety should one control cable fail.
A detail feature of the control masts is the cable fixing, designed to retain the cable in case of failure of the bolt or its fastening.
The balanced rudder is mounted on a wood-filled steel mast, which, extended through the body, forms the support of a pivoted tail skid, in BE 3 fashion.
The landing chassis is essentially simple, being designed for use in a country where skilled assistance is difficult to obtain, each member could be replaced by almost any material that came to hand.
The steel clips fastening the struts to fuselage and skids are very simple, but at the same time strong pieces of platework.
The comfort of the pilot has been carefully studied and he is well sheltered behind an aluminium turtle deck, which also streamlines the petrol and oil tanks. Light wood formers carry a lath and fabric combination of the streamline form behind the pilot.
The central lever utilized is practically a modified form of the Bleriot cloche, but the substitution of arms saves some unnecessary weight.
Any organ or part can be very quickly dissembled entirely as a unit, a virtue which will be appreciated by those who have faced the difficulties of transport and travel without proper facilities.
The complete machine, less engine and fabric, weighs only 504 lbs., and with 3 1/2 hours' petrol will fly with a loading of 2 1/3 lbs. per foot.
The engine to be installed is one of the new 40-h.p. A.B.C., the English duration record holder. The combination should be capable of some good performances.
Mr. Tsoe. K. Wong, the designer and constructor of the Tong-mei (English "Dragon Fly"), intends to introduce the type into China, where he hopes it will play its part in the development of China's fourth arm. It is encouraging to note that Mr. Wong has made England the base for his preliminary organisation. He is arranging to take back several English pilots and mechanics.
FLIGHT readers will no doubt wish him every success in his enterprise.
A two-seater machine of the same type is now in course of construction, and will, as soon as it is completed and tested, be dispatched to China.
Flight, January 13, 1916.
A correspondent in Sepang, Selangor, Malay Peninsula, sends along the accompanying photographs of the 100 h.p. Anzani-engined biplane built by Messrs. Wong and Lawford. This machine was taken out to the Straits Settlements during 1914. Mr. Wong, who may be remembered as the constructor of the Tong Mei biplane, being in charge. Through his connections out there Wong hoped to start an interest in aviation, and took out the machine in order to give practical demonstrations. For quite a long time nothing had been heard of him until the arrival of this letter, which states that several good flights were put up during early morning hours, but that later on during a demonstration flight a bad landing was made with the result shown in one of the photos. Mr. Wong fortunately was not hurt so that one may perhaps take it for granted that she will be repaired, or, if this be impossible, a new machine constructed. In all probability the engine is not seriously damaged, so that even at worst the construction of a new 'bus should not mean a very large outlay of capital. It is to be hoped that Mr. Wong will succeed in carrying out the work he has started and thus help to spread the interest in aviation. As a matter of fact this machine is not the first to fly in the Malay States, an Antoinette monoplane, piloted, I believe, by the Dutch aviator Kuller, having made flights out there as early as the beginning of 1911. Another of our photos, shows one of these. The old graceful Antoinette does not look at all out of place in its unusual surroundings.