Biplane and monoplane flying machines

Through the courtesy Of the proprietors of TYz'g/zt we are enabled to give a few particulars of the Voisin, Wright, Cody, Bleriot, and Santos Dumont flying machines.

The Farman and Delagrange* flying machines are biplanes, designed and constructed by M. Gabriel Voisin, Paris; they are similar in size and design. A large box, or tail,T containing a rudder, is fixed at the stern to an outrigger, extending backwards from the main decks, this gives longitudinal stability. There is one propeller, fixed on the motor shaft, with steel blades, riveted to solid steel arms, running at 1000 revolutions per minute. The Voisin flyers all start from a state of rest by running along the ground on wheels, and when the speed is sufficiently high they gradually ascend, taking the chasses and wheels with them.

The Voisin flying machine has two superposed planes, set about 5 feet apart and joined by struts, with a spread of 42 feet 9 inches, and 6 feet 7 inches from front to rear, giving 560 square feet of sustaining surface. The framework is of wood, covered with fabric on the under side only, and is exposed on the top side (this is said to diminish the lifting effect and increase atmospheric resistance ), but the spars and ribs are enclosed in pockets to lessen resistance when flying. The square box at the rear balances the machine, and is fitted with side curtains, the rudder being in the middle. In front of the main decks, fixed on an outrigger, is a horizontal rudder or elevator, consisting of a pivoted horizontal plane or planes, arranged under the pilot’s control, and used for ascending and descending ; ‘* these alter the direction according to the angle they are fixed at with the horizontal. Besides these there are a few vertical members, which control and maintain the direction of flight and give lateral stability. The petrol engine is an Antoinette motor, 8-cylinder, air~cooled, of 49 brake-horsepower, at 1100 revolutions per minute, weight is 176 lbs. This drives a steel propeller, 7 feet 6 inches diameter, covered with aluminium, keyed direct on to the end of the crank shaft, situated in the middle line, behind the main planes. The engines are fixed behind the pilot, who uses a steering wheel like that on a motor car, and for steering in rising and falling it is pulled or pushed to and fro. The machine rests on a chassis of steel tubing, having four wheels, mounted so as to swivel freely as this is required when alighting on the ground. There is a spring suspension on the front wheels to diminish shock when landing.

In this machine the struts or uprights are fastened to the spars by aluminium socket brackets, but manganese steel brackets are now being used as well.

In Fig. 13 Singer is shown seated on his Voisin biplane. Wright’s flying machine, shown in Fig. 14, created a great sensation in America and France by its performances. It has the capacity to turn rapidly as well as rise and fall like a bird when in flight. In fact, it is said to approach more closely to bird-flight than any machine hitherto constructed. A bird steers vertically when flying by the inclination of its

body, wings, and tail, and steers its course by altering the lateral angle of its wings, but it must not be forgotten that the bird seems undoubtedly to possess a special sense which directs it how to act instinctively when its balance is disturbed, so that this is instantaneously restored without apparent effort on its part.

Wright controls his machine by varying the angle of the double-plane horizontal elevator in front, which, being tilted or dipped, makes the machine rise or fall, and so regulates vertical steering. He controls the lateral steering or side movements by varying the angle of the rear vertical rudder.

' The aeroplane has two superposed main planes, each of 257 square feet, set 6 feet apart, 4! feet across from point to point, and the aeronaut is able to warp the extremities of the wings, when necessary, in order to get the flyer on to an even keel, should it have heeled over from any cause. The warping is performed by diagonal wires or ropes fixed to the rear corners of both main planes, and the maximum deflection is about 6 inches (15 cms.). Both planes warp the same way at the same extremity of the machine, but opposite extremities move in contrary directions. The fronts of the planes are rigid, but the outer and after corners are flexible, so the angle can be varied, and this increases or diminishes the lifting effect. If there be a tendency to tilt either to the right or left, the angle of the outer ends of the planes are changed, so the lowest side lifts most and the highest side the least. This manoeuvre brings the machine on to the horizontal or an even keel, thus stability depends entirely on the skill of the pilot.

The planes or wings are constructed Of light wooden rectangular frames, which are rounded off at the rear extremities; they are covered over on both sides with closely woven lightly drawn canvas, because this double covering makes the surface smooth, and allows the air

passing over the top surface to unite with the air from the under surface of each plane. Wright holds that this arrangement of double covering increases the lifting effect and diminishes atmospheric resistance. The struts or uprights are fastened to the spars by means of hook-and-eye joints.

The elevators, or double horizontal planes, are about I 5 feet long and 3 feet wide, placed at some distance in front of the main planes. The angles of these can be varied at will, and regulate the rising and falling movements of the machine.

The vertical rudder for side steering is formed of two planes or surfaces braced together, each 5 feet 6 inches long, and 12 inches wide, and covered over with canvas on both sides. By varying the angle of the rudder the side movements of the machine are controlled.

In front, between the elevators, is fixed one, or it may be two, small D-shaped vertical planes, which serve as a “prow” to give the machine sensitiveness to the rudder and enable it to steer laterally.

{Votive Ariana—At the right side of the pilot is fixed a 4-cylinder, water-cooled, petrol engine, cylinders 4} inches by 4 inches, of 24 B.H.P., running at 1200 revolutions per minute ,- which drives, by means of chain gearing, two wooden propellers, set abreast, mounted on parallel shafts, 11 feet 6 inches apart, running at 400 revolutions per minute, in opposite directions, and in this way gyroscopic action is prevented. The propeller is 8 feet 6 inches in diameter.

The chains which drive them are enclosed in tubes. As the engine is fixed on one side (of the aeronaut), one chain is longer than the other, and this is crossed. There are two steering levers, one, hinged to rock antero-posteriorly, on the pilot’s left, to control the elevators for rising and falling movements. The other, on the right, is moved sideways to steer by the rudder. The warping of the main planes is performed by ropes passing over pulleys which terminate on a drum, and this latter is revolved by the pilot when required.

Two wooden skates or sledge runners are fixed underneath the main planes; they are used for landing purposes, and prolongations of them upwards in front carry the elevators.

Starting—When starting, in order to get up initial speed, Wright uses a falling weight of half a ton, this is wound up on a tripod stand and a rope from it passes over pulleys and joins a bogie with two wheels (one set in front of the other like a cycle) which runs on a monorail, fixed on the ground, underneath the aeroplane. After the engines have been started and the propellers run at full speed, when the weight is released, it falls down and pulls the machine along on the rail for a distance of about 90 feet, and so, when it gets to the end of the rail the flyer is set free, it bumps along the ground for some distance and then makes an ascent into the air.

Wright is reported to be able to fly easily with 240 lbs. and his own weight of 10 stone, besides his gasoline and water. He carried half a ton when using only 14 horse-power of his 24 horse-power engine. By using a smaller aeroplane with less engine power than other experimenters the cost' of building a Wright aeroplane is much reduced as compared with other biplane machines. The lift is said to be about 80 lbs. per horse-power. Wright claims to be able to make a safe descent without his engines running. In one of his experiments he stopped his engines, at a height of 80 to 90 feet, and taking a curved line, he descended, but came down with too much impetus and broke the left wing of his flying machine.

Cody’s flying machine is a. biplane without a tail. The chassis has three wheels. A good deal of cane is used in the construction of the machine. The main planes have a span of 52 feet, and the span of both decks is arched, the decks are double surfaced. There is a front as well as a stern rudder, the front one being placed over the elevator, and the rear one carried by an independent outrigger. The rudders, elevators, and balancing planes are manipulated by a lever carrying a steering wheel rigidly fixed on it. The engine is an 8-cylinder, of 80 horse-power ; this drives two propellers, by chain drive, revolving in opposite directions (the same as Wright’s). The weight of the fiyer with the pilot is nearly one ton. He has carried a passenger, and has. made some very successful short flights, having attained a speed of 2 5 miles per hour (Fig. 15).

The monoplane, or aeroplane with one set of planes only, was, until recently, not held by aviators of much account, with the exception of Latham and Bleriot. Biplane flyers, or those having two superposed planes, were always used for experimenting with. However, in M. Lath-am’s hands, this flyer has turned out a success and after practising, at Chalons Camp, short flights, he flew for just over an hour at a speed of 50 miles per hour, though the wind was against him, and so set up a record for monoplane flight. As we all know, he made two unsuccessful attempts to cross the Channel, on one of these machines, in July, 1909, owing to, we believe, engine failures, though in his last attempt he was nearly successful, as his machine failed only a short distance from the English coast. Latham’s monoplane is Shown in Fig. 16.

Bleriot flew 25 miles across France, successfully crossed the Channel, and gained the first prize, at Rheims, for the world’s speed records, and Latham won the Prix de

l’Altitude (for height reached), at Rheims. They have caused this flyer to come quickly into favour by these successes.

The frontispiece shows M. Bleriot having just arrived at Dover after his Cross-Channel flight, on Sunday morning, July 25, 1909. Bleriot’s Channel flyer (Fig. 17) is a monoplane , with one pair of wings or deck; this is attached to a lattice girder of square section in front and tapering behind. To this end is attached a rudder, and in front of this again is placed a supplementary plane, forming the tail, which is mounted below the girder, and has its extremities movable for purpOSes of control. The propeller is placed in front of the aviator along with the engine. The flyer is mounted on a two-wheel chassis, and the rear part rests on one wheel behind. The engine is a 25 horse-power, 3-cylinder Anzani, of the semiradial type.

Santos Dumont’s flying machine. Santos Dumont, in France, has constructed a very tiny monoplane, which is said to be the smallest in the world. This machine and the aviator together weigh a little over 2 cwt. It is called Demoiselle and with it be attained a speed of 60 miles per hour. He flew in September, 1908, from St. Cyr, and crossing the valley, landed near Buc, having covered the distance over hedges and trees in five minutes. Its external dimensions do not exceed 20 feet across by 18 feet fore and aft. A great deal Of bamboo is used in its construction . The engine is a 30 horse-power, horizontal, opposed twin-cylinder engine, driving a propeller of 6 feet 6 inches in diameter.