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)
The Davies Glider No. 1 was built during 1911 by Walter Davies of Dudley, Worcs. The span of the upper wings was 30 ft. and that of the lower was 20 ft. A later version, designated Davies No. 2 and built in 1913, had a span of 30 ft. 1 in., a length of 20 ft. I in., a wing area of 285 sq. ft. and a loaded weight of 285 lb. Illustrated is No. I.
Flight, August 12, 1911.
My First Glider.
I enclose a photo of a biplane-glider that I have made entirely myself with the exception of the wire strainers and aluminium sockets, which were supplied by Messrs. Handley Page, Ltd.
This biplane being the first and only one made in Dudley I had her out a week or so ago in a wind of about 15 m.p.h., my great difficulty being to hold her down. I had four men to assist me, and when running the slightest distance the glider shot up into the air like a kite and travelled over our heads. At first this quite startled me as I never dreamt she would rise so quickly. After running some distance we stopped, when I expected to see her come down crash, but no, to my great astonishment she landed like a feather.
The wind getting considerably stronger and requiring all our strength to hold her down, I thought it advisable to get into the pilot's seat and see what she would do by towed flights.
A run as usual taking place, the glider once more soared beautifully into the air, quite 10 to 12 ft. from the ground with myself at the controls, requiring very little skill in balancing and elevating as the speed was slow, requiring quite 30 m.p.h. before the ailerons would be of any service.
No free flights were attempted as the field is quite flat and surrounded by trees, this being my only drawback to find a suitable slope. I am at present waiting for the grass to be cut when I hope to get some better results.
I would like to mention that FLIGHT has been of great service to me, and that apart from models this glider is my first attempt. Dimensions :- Span, top plane 30 ft., bottom plane 20 ft., chord 5 ft., tail 7 ft. 6 in. by 3 ft., elevator 7 ft. 6 ins. by 18 ins., area 283.75 sq. ft.
Dudley. WALTER DAVIES.
Flight, December 6, 1913.
The Davies Glider No. 2.
DURING the last few weeks a considerable number of enquiries have been received with respect to various particulars relative to man-carrying gliders, and there is every indication that a large number of aero clubs intend to make it one of their chief features next season. It is, we all know, a most fascinating form of sport, and provided that something can be done with, say, a pedal-driven propeller to considerably augment the length or duration of the glide, its popularity would undoubtedly be still further increased. A machine of this character is naturally more expensive to build and maintain than a small rubber-driven model. The cost of its production does not, however, exceed that of a properly engined model, and there are many private individuals as well as clubs who, whereas they could not possibly either build or maintain a full-sized engine machine, are quite capable of tackling a glider.
Under the above circumstances, we have much pleasure in publishing the following account and scale drawings of a glider kindly sent us by Mr. W. Davies :-
"My first letter appeared in FLIGHT as far back as August, 1911, and gave a description of my first glider. From start to finish it was nothing but a lump of bad luck. Encouragement and local interest was at the time anything but brisk, and not having suitable grounds I decided to take it to pieces and go back to experimenting with models. It was not very long after having come to this decision that I came across a very suitable ground for gliding experiments, and this having caused the flight fever to come on again, I was quite unable to resist the desire to build another, this time a machine of similar dimensions but with constructional details much improved, and so made as to be easily assembled or taken to pieces, strong and yet light.
"Work went on but very slowly, as I built the machine entirely myself. When finished the space occupied was 21 ft. by 6.5 ft., but it was a long time to rig up the machine. Fortunately, however, I was not handicapped for room, so that the tail and outriggers were put together as one, and the cellule braced with the extensions down. On arriving at the flying ground very little had to be done, except putting up the extensions and bolting on the tail outriggers, which are shown clearly in Fig. 4.
"The gliding ground was at a distance of 6 miles from the building shed, and the transportation of the machine was undertaken quite on a military basis, the axle and wheels were half turned round on the skids, the tail slung on the extension, and the machine pushed off at top speed. The time the very early morning. We arrived at our destination feeling a little knocked up. The crew with me, which numbered six, worked as happy as if at an aviation meeting, all setting to and helping me to get the machine ready. I had decided from my experience with No. 1 that it would be better to get into the seat rather than risk her on her own. Having done so, a really delightful trip took place, at a height of about 5 ft. only from the ground, being pulled quite 50 yards; the wheels making it possible to get up speed quickly, and acting admirably in every way.
"These towed flights were the most successful, free glides being limited; we never seemed to get sufficiently high to accomplish long free glides, the longest free flight being about 130 ft., but much longer towed flights were made.
"I account for this by reason of the insufficient slope of the ground and the small supporting area, which works out at 1 lb. per sq. ft., which is too heavy. I should strongly advise builders to have a loading only of 3/4 lb. per sq. ft. rather than a smaller area and consequently heavier loading. It is much better as a test of your manipulatory skill, and avoids also landing at a speed and with a bump that the above machine did. Above all, be most particular with respect to the wind speed.
"One particular morning that we shall never forget, we motor cycled over to the ricksheds (the hangar) and found the wind much too high, but the sound of my 'Rudge multi' engine must have woke up some of the people in the neighbourhood, who knew quite well that the glider was there, and they must have thought that I had got an aero motor for the machine, for they came simply like a swarm of bees.
"The wind was still too strong, and the people got so very tired of waiting, and not wanting them to lose interest, I decided something should be done. To try a solo flight was madness, so I looked round for a passenger. The machine was wheeled from the shed into the open field, each of the crew at his proper place, a friend of mine (small in build, of course) volunteered to take the place as passenger. This we thought (if anything should be really accomplished) would be quite sensational.
"Before giving and explaining the result, it would be as well perhaps to mention that the angle of the tail plane was very high, thus throwing the centre of pressure further aft and making my position not so dangerous as if placed too far forward (H. Farman fashion); at the same time, this was upsetting theory, as there was no longitudinal dihedral making it safe for myself from a landing point, but stability was so far sacrificed. William Westwood was my passenger, and we sat very close together; the crew pulled the machine and off we went, still remaining on the ground, when all of a sudden up we popped and down we came, a most terrible bump, I pushing the passenger off the back, after crawling from under the wreckage; poor Billy was limping, he had cut his leg, so we took him to see the doctor, where a few stitches were inserted. After the doctor had patched up and made good we returned to the glider, and to my surprise the most important part, the four main spars, had broken through at the spot marked X X on the drawing, after my passenger and I had come through the top plane, and seeing that the cabanes, extensions and ailerons were smashed as well, I thought the best thing to do was to start afresh rather than patch up.
"As a result of the foregoing experience I strongly advise those who are thinking of building a glider to use bamboo for their spars, outriggers and ribs, as it will bend when receiving a shock, and will not break at that. Built on this principle, and strongly braced with 16 g. piano wire, with a strainer to each diagonal, and to employ 300 sq. ft. of supporting surface, and to experiment in a reasonable wind and slope. [A loading of ? lb. per sq. ft. requires a wind of about 20 m.p.h. to soar.]
"No doubt readers looking at Fig. 2 will not admire the tail outriggers in plan, but I found it answered well, as it is the only tail out of four that I have not smashed; it was also very rigid. Fig. 4 shows the method of bolting outriggers to the main cellule - the outriggers themselves are sawn down 6 ins., the plate let in pegged and bound with string. Fig. 5 shows a continuation of the outrigger to the tail strut, where a skid is fitted. Fig. 6 shows how the aluminium strut sockets and brackets for cellule bracing are bolted to the main spars. Fig. 7 is the elevating control, showing universal joint, wood handle bar bolted to 1 1/4 in. solid drawn steel tube.
"Fig. 8 was the most difficult job of all. It was composed of six pieces of ash, three making the complete circle, being screwed and glued together lamination fashion. The spokes were of ten g. piano wire diagonally crossed from the hub to the rim, as shown in the drawing, the wire being fastened through a hole in the plate, and passed through suitable ferrules. This answered admirably."