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Poll Giant Triplane

Страна: Германия

Год: 1918

Plage-Court / Kuhlstein - Torpedo monoplane - 1912 - Германия<– –>Reissner - canard monoplane - 1912 - Германия


G.Haddow, P.Grosz The German Giants (Putnam)


Poll Giant Triplane

  During 1919 an Inter-Allied Aeronautical Control Commission team reported on the partially-finished remains of a fantastic ten-engined triplane found in a hangar at the Poll airfield near Cologne. For many years the only information regarding this mystery aircraft was that described in the I.A.A.C.C. report dated 29 September 1919. From an engineering point of view the report was fairly comprehensive and was entirely in keeping with the I.A.A.C.C. objectives - not only to control but to describe new German aviation developments. Unfortunately, virtually nothing was mentioned regarding the history of this machine, so that for many years speculation has surrounded its existence. The only clue to the identity of the aircraft was that the designer's name was Forstmann. But the following important statements appeared in the report: "It appears that the 'Forstmann' Giant was intended to carry petrol for 80 hours flight, to have a speed of about 130 km.h. and to land at about 90 or 100 km.h." Then later on: "Function-heavy bombing, long distance machine, alleged to have been intended to bomb New York. No trace of any gear or bomb release gear found." These statements were to be significant in the search for the Poll Giant's true identity, because they established a connection with a document in the German Naval Archives.
  While searching through the voluminous Naval archives a memorandum dated 18 October 1917 came to the author's attention, quite by chance. It had no heading and ostensibly was a short information note prepared for some high-ranking officer. It read:
   A transport aircraft with ten engines capable of flying to America was financially supported by Bruning and the Deutsche Bank. The Navy became interested in the project because of its potential military application. The construction work has lagged behind and costs have risen so that further financing has been refused. The Company approached the Navy for funds, but the Navy declined because its interest was only of technical nature. Mannesmann was ready to re-finance the project, but the Navy considers it worthwhile to inhibit further construction due to the scarcity of material and labour.
  The signature was unintelligible.
  It is now known that the Poll triplane and the Bruning-Deutsche Bank project were identical. From the outset, the Poll Giant was intended as a long-range transport not bomber. Its designer was Villehad Forssman, creator of the early SSW-Forssman R-plane. Forssman enjoyed a close working relationship with Bruning & Sohn A.G. owner of "the four largest factories in Germany for the manufacture of quality plywood" and operated Fahrzeugbau Bruning at Grossauheim (near Hanau) for manufacturing transport vehicles, including aircraft. In fact Fahrzeugbau Bruning's registered trademark was an exact front view of the Poll triplane. To utilize Bruning's woodworking skills and sell plywood, Forssman actively promoted the company through his design and patent office in Berlin. In this connection, in April 1916 Forssman contacted Anthony Fokker and offered to have Bruning build several plywood wings, at no cost, according to Fokker specifications. Fokker quickly submitted the required wing drawings. Also involved with Fahrzeugbau Bruning was engineer Thorsten von Carlheim, a fellow Swede, who worked for Forssman in Berlin and Grossauheim.
  Hptm. Krupp, now an Rea staff officer, recalled in pecting the Poll Giant at the request of Admiral Lahs and felt certain that Villehad Forssman was the designer. According to the Illustrated London News (p. 992, 1920), the Poll Giant was "intended to fly to America and drop propaganda leaflets over the United States before that country enter the war." Such a far-fetched proposal was entirely in keeping with Forssman's creative fantasy. The "Mannesmann" of the German Navy report was the Mannesmann Wafffen & Munitions Werke in Westhoven near Cologne who, in 1918, were constructing a small radio-guided flying missile designed by Forssman. Although no proof exists, Mannesmann was surely involved in the construction of the Poll Giant.
  Waldemar Roeder recalls visiting the Poll Giant construction site as follows:
   A very interesting project, under construction in 1918, was the one by Forssman. During my service with the Rea in Cologne, I learned of a huge triplane being built near Kahl (between Hanau and my home, Aschaffenburg; there was no airfield in the vicinity). Naturally, I went there as soon as I could and found a rather primitive building almost in the middle of the woods. Unfortunately, I do not remember who took me through the workshop, but I was impressed by the clean workmanship. Wings and nacelles were made of plywood, the former not yet covered with fabric. The very handsome engine nacelles were intended for a tractor and pusher engine each.
  Since not all of the Poll Giant's components were found (engines, engine bearers, control surfaces, undercarriage and sections of the tail were missing), it is likely that this aircraft was constructed in at least two locations. The engine nacelles and other part had not yet been shipped to the Poll airfield site when it was inspected by the Allies.
  The triplane wing was characterized by a middle wing with a much greater span than the outer two wings. The ribs were set fairly wide apart, and the box-section compression ribs were spaced at approximately 20 foot intervals. These thickened between the spars so that some 5 inches projected below the curve of the camber. The entire wing surfaces were covered with three-ply wood reinforced by a layer of fabric applied to the top veneer. The I.A.A.C.C. considered the workmanship good, but thought the structure to be weighty and disproportionately weak. Ailerons were to have been fitted to the middle wing only. Eight tandem engines were located at the strut intersections on the middle wing. The remaining two tandem engines were located below the fuselage at the centre of the lower wing. No information is available as to the type and horse-power of the contemplated engines.
  The rectangular centrally-mounted fuselage was built of wooden longerons and cross-members reinforced with diagonal cable bracing. Although the fuselage was covered with three-ply wood, the I.A.A.C.C. team stated that the fuselage appeared weak and felt the three-ply covering added unnecessary weight. Because cable bracing across the fuselage interior was omitted, the inner (9 feet 3 inches square) fuselage was free from obstruction. The inner sides of the fuselage were covered by a second plywood layer. If strength were uppermost in the designer's mind he had no regard for weight, and the impression was that the Poll Giant was quite heavy in structure. When one considers that the fuselage was 150 feet long, some 12 feet longer than the wingspan of the Staaken R.VI, the designer's preoccupation with strength and rigidity is perhaps excusable.
  Only a portion of the tailplane was available for inspection by the I.A.A.C.C. team. The elevators, fin and rudder were missing. A point of much interest to the Commission was that the leading edge of the tailplane was hinged and connected in a manner to assist in working the elevators. A recommendation was made by the I.A.A.C.C. team to test this arrangement in a British wind tunnel.
  All that was found of the undercarriage was one of the huge, 7 foot 9 inch diameter wheels, which were entirely built of wood with the exception of the steel hub. For many years this wheel was on exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London, where it is now in storage along with a section of the fuselage.
  While there is no question that the Poll Giant was immense in concept, the naivete of its construction betrays the designer's inexperience in methods of aircraft design and fabrication. It is hoped that future research will bring to light the full history of this fascinating but forgotten aircraft. The accompanying provisional general arrangement drawing is based on all available data.


SPECIFICATIONS

Type: "Poll" Giant Triplane
  Manufacturer: Unknown (initially financed by Bruning and the Deutsche Bank)
  Engines: Ten tandem engines
  Dimensions:
   Span: middle, 50•3 m. (165 ft.)
   top and bottom, 31•1 m. (102 ft.)
   Chord, 6•7 m. (22 ft.)
   Gap (upper and lower), 55 m (18 ft.)
   Fuselage length, 45•7 m. (150 ft.)
   Maximum fuselage depth, 2•8 m. (9 ft. 3 in.)
   Wheel diameter, 2-4 m. (7 ft. 9 in.)
  Performance (Est.):
   Maximum speed, 130 km.h. (80•8 m.p.h.)
   Landing speed, 90-100 km.h. (56-62•5 m.p.h.)
   Duration, 80 hrs.


J.Herris German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Vol II (A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes 50)


Poll Giant
  
  The Poll Giant was a huge, 10-engine triplane design intended to bomb New York. As fantastic as this sounds, this intercontinental bomber was actually being constructed until abandoned after the armistice. One of the 7-foot 9-inch diameter wooden wheels was built and photographed and sections of the fuselage were built and found postwar at the Poll airfield near Cologne. A successful intercontinental bomber was far beyond the technology of 1918; the first aircraft that could actually perform such a mission was the B-36, which first flew in 1946 and reached service in 1948, 30 years after the Poll Giant was designed and construction started. The state of the art required to perform its mission was far beyond the technology of the Poll Giant.
  Apparently the Poll Giant was designed to carry enough fuel for an 80-hour flight. Financing was from commercial sources, indicating the original intention was as a passenger transport. Most of the airplane's components were built before the armistice but not all had been assembled. The middle wing had much greater span than the top an bottom wings and their wood structure was covered with 3-ply plywood with a layer of fabric on top. The fuselage was also a wood framework also covered with 3-ply veneer. Members of the IAACC team who inspected the partially-completed prototype postwar thought the wings and fuselage structure were too weak and too heavy.
  The type and power of the ten engines are not known.
  In the fall of 1917 the components built for the Poll Giant had to be moved from Bruning's factory at Kahl to Mannesmann's specially built hangar at Westhoven, about 150 miles (240 km) away. The accompanying photos were taken during this move.

Poll Giant Specifications
Engines: 10 engines, power & type unknown
Wing: Span, middle 50.3 m
Span, Top &. Bottom 31.1 m
Chord 6.7 m
Gap 5.5 m
General: Length 45.7 m
Wheel Diameter 2.4 m
Maximum Speed: 130 km/h
Landing Speed: 90-100 km/h
Duration: 80 hours

J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
The Poll Giant fuselage and other components were moved from Bruning's factory at Kahl to Mannesmann's specially built hangar at Westhoven, about 150 miles (240 km) away, in the fall of 1917 . (Peter M. Grosz collection, STDB)
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
Moving the Poll Giant Components, Fall 1917 (Peter M. Grosz collection, STDB)
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
One of the huge 2.4 m (7 foot, 9 inch) diameter all-wood wheels made for the Poll Giant. The photos were taken at the Imperial War Museum where the wheel was once on display and is now in storage.The Poll Giant was a huge triplane bomber with ten engines that was being constructed in 1918, but was not completed by the armistice. Work stopped at war's end and the type was never completed nor flown.
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
The 2.4 m (7 foot 9 inch) wood wheel of the Poll Giant, the surviving artifact from this project now stored in the Imperial War Museum.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz - The German Giants /Putnam/
Mannesmann (Poll) Giant Triplane
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
Poll Giant. The Poll Giant was never completed so its exact appearance is not known. Marty has drawn it with 300 hp Maybach engines and a Forsmann-style under-carriage, although these details are unknown. The length in these drawings is substantially less than shown before. Typical contemporary aircraft had a span to length ratio of 3:2 rather than 1:1 and the illustrator thought that the design length may have been 105 feet instead of 150 feet as noted before, perhaps due to a transcription error. In any case, 105 feet long seems more realistic and it was drawn that way. Compare with an earlier drawing on page 64. Your estimate by vary!
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
Poll Giant
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
Poll Giant
J.Herris - German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Volume II /Centennial Perspective/
Poll Giant