110 years...

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Marcel, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Todaqy exactly 110 years ago man started to explore the skies in fully controlable powered aircraft. Something to celebrate.
     
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  2. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Kittyhawk, was it?
     
  3. Vic Balshaw

    Vic Balshaw Well-Known Member

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  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Certainly a momentous day!
     
  5. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Most if my relatives live on the Outer Banks. I need to get back out there and visit that place.
     
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  6. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    In a startling announcement a few days ago, Jane's All the World's Aircraft has named an August 1901 flight by Connecticut aviation pioneer Gustave Whitehead as the first successful powered flight in history, beating the Wright Brothers by more than two years. Jane's, which calls itself the world's foremost authority on aviation history, with great authority, has traditionally backed the Wrights as first in flight. Now they say the evidence for Whitehead's flight is strong enough for the publication to reverse course and recognize it as the first successful powered flight.

    Jane's Editor Paul Jackson describes what happened in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on August 14, 1901.

    "It was in the summer of 1901 that Whitehead flew his airplane, which he called the Condor. In the early hours of 14 August 1901, the Condor propelled itself along the darkened streets of Bridgeport, Connecticut, with Whitehead, his staff and an invited guest in attendance. In the still air of dawn, the Condor's wings were unfolded and it took off from open land at Fairfield, 15 miles from the city, and performed two demonstration sorties. The second was estimated as having covered 1½ miles at a height of 50 feet, during which slight turns in both directions were demonstrated." The length of flight and altitude reached make the Wright's first powered foray pale in comparison.
     
  7. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmm, dejavu. The problem is that there is hardly any evidence, no pictures or anything. And apparently he was never able to produce a working aircraft after 1903, so could never support his claim. Makes it highly doubtful. I guess Janes needed the attention or something.
     
  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    There's several "camps" that insist that several inventors were the first (there always is) but the Wright Brothers proved that thier aircraft was consistant in it's performance, it was truly the world's first modern aircraft.

    One of the challengers (and oddly enough, quite a bit of support) is Langley who's flights were certainly consistant...they flew as far as his launch ramp and then plunged into the Potomac. Langley's design was too fragile and it wasn't until Glen Curtiss improved the design, that it was actually capable of sustained, controllable flight. Langley gets the credit for building the "first flyable machine" which is not correct. It proved it wasn't flyable until 1914, when Curtiss made it airworthy (11 years after the Wrights)...

    As far as Whitehead goes, I call bullsh!t on that. He built this wonderful monoplane that was as agile as a WWI fighter and yet no one knows what happened to the prototype or the amazing engines that powered it. *IF* it was that awesome, you would suppose he'd show it off a few more times or perhaps market it or it's design. Maybe a few photos of it in action...or maybe even just a few photos of it (instead of one vague photo taken from the rear, of it sitting there). And surely more than one newspaper would carry the news of this earth-shattering accomplishment and that paper was a backwater journal, too.
    Whitehead's design was basically a boat with flimsey bamboo runners with some sort of silk stretched across the surfaces and two 20hp engines and it was allegedly capable of flying unmanned while he held it on a tether...yeah, right.

    Meanwhile, the Wright Brothers built a machine that advanced powered flight, was studied and copied AND the propellor they designed for thier flying machine set the standard for propellors, that design still being in use today, 110 years later.

    Jane's may have been the world's foremost authority on aircraft, but after endorsing Whitehead, I wouldn't ask them for the time of day nor trust them if they told me...
     
  9. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    #9 mikewint, Dec 18, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
    a). Two 1906 press reports describe seeing a blurred photo of Whitehead's 1901 powered monoplane in flight at a Jan. 1906 exhibition. (One appeared in Scientific American, filed by its Aeronautical Editor.)

    b). A panorama photo of that exhibition exists. The veracity of the eyewitness report can therefore be checked. To do so, the panorama photo needs to be enlarged several thousand percent using modern computer technologies.

    Here, briefly, is what the analysis below shows:
    - there were 10 images on display in the Whitehead section;
    - of those, 8 do not show an aircraft in flight;
    - one could, but its resolution is too poor to verify details;
    - in one photo, 5 of 6 details in the report are discernable.

    (The 6th detail is not discernable at such high maginifcation. However, nothing in the photo rules it out either. Furthermore, 4 circumstantial aspects of the photo appear to support its presence.)

    c). A different report by a different newspaper about another exhibit 15 months
    earlier describes two photos on display there. Their content matches the details contained in the two articles above as well as those in the photo analyzed.

    d). In a fourth newspaper - the one whose Chief Editor published the original, eyewitness report of Whitehead's 1901 flight - all the details visible in the photo and all the details decribed in the other three articles, are described.

    e). That fourth article is accompanied by a lithograph which was half-toned based on a photo of the flight (since lost when the newspaper ceased publication). All the details shown in that lithograph match the photo - except for standard retouching of a kind customary at the time. Furthermore, the details shown in the lithograph match the decriptions published in the other three articles.
     

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  10. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Photo of bigfoot, thus it exists (sorry Mike, couldn't resist):
    o-FINDING-BIGFOOT-FOOTAGE-130303-facebook.jpg
     
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  11. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    #11 mikewint, Dec 19, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
    1. horizon falling off to the left;

    2. brightly-lit ground/objects a dark sky (consistent with dawn, sunset or an approaching storm-front);

    3. clumps on the horizon, narrow at the bottom and spreading out into irregular shapes on top (consistent with trees);

    4. interruption of the horizon on the right edge of the image by an object which is narrow in its lower reaches and spreads out in its upper reaches, having both an irregular shape and irregular shadows (consistent with a tree) and being uniformly light along its left side only (consistent with sunlight shining upon it);

    5. object with a vertical component at its left side which has a regular shade pattern - lighter at top, somewhat darker at front and dark at right - (consistent with a fencepost), and

    6. a more horizontal component which also has a regular shade pattern - light on top and somewhat darker at its right - (consistent with the crossbeam of a fence);

    7. light shading on objects' left sides, dark shading on objects' right sides and only a medium-tone, gray shading on what appears to be the only visible top side of an object (consistent with either dawn or sunset, but NOT consistent with midday light conditions);

    8. an object at the center of the image with a narrow protrusion upward from its mid-point (consistent with a mast) and

    9. a central section extending downward from the middle of the object which abruptly transitions into somewhat thinner protrusions to the left and right of it (consistent with a fuselage and wings).

    10. hypothetically assuming the object depicted were to be an aircraft (since its being shown at an aircraft exhibition), its shape would be consistent with a monoplane (but not with a bi-plane or a multi-plane);

    11. Assuming the object's vertical protrusion is a thin mast, the fact it appears wider in the image could be attributable to blurring caused by movement. If the same degree and direction of blurring is applied to the whole object, a more deliniated shape is discernable (consistent with a high-wing monoplane moving from right to left at a slightly upward trajectory).

    12. the distance of the object from the lower edge of the image is approximately two-thirds of the object's width.

    13. assuming, hypothetically, it were to be a Whitehead aircraft (since it's in the Whitehead Section), its dimensions - in regard to how its components are placed relative to each other - would conform to the known configuration of Whitehead's aircraft No. 21 (other photos of which have been positively identified on display next to it). Whitehead's No. 21 was known to have a mast, fuselage and wingspan in proportions closely resembling those of the object shown in the image being analyzed:

    The above photo, taken late Spring, 1901. shows Whitehead, his helpers the No. 21 aircraft reported to have flown 2-3 months later. It appears to have been taken at a more oblique angle than the object at the center of the image being analyzed. 14. At first impression, the protrusion from the upper right of the object appears to be inconsistent with a Whitehead monoplane...

    Upon examination of the sources, however, several plausible explanations emerge:

    14a. one contemporary photo of Whitehead's No. 21 shows the outermost element of its left wing (between the eight ninth ribs) de-rigged, i.e. not held in place by guy-wires. The photo was taken following a crash in autumn, 1901. Presumedly the derigging of the outer element was a result of the crash (or preceeding flight) and not an intended design feature. Wingtips are susceptible to strong forces imposed by what's called "induced drag" (an upwardly-swirling type of eddy, not known at the time.) Such a wing element deflected upward by induced drag would best explain the protrusion visible in the image;

    14b.Whitehead's No. 21 aircraft employed "Maxim Type-J" propellers which rotated slowly (600 RPM), were 6 ft. long and had a relatively wide blade area (4 sq. ft.). They were polished and variously described as having been covered with a thin layer of aluminium sheeting. Contemporary photos show them reflecting sunlight. Under conditions such as those suggested in the image (i.e., low sun position), the possibility a blade may have been reflecting sunlight cannot be discounted; (even when using modern forensic technology, a better-quality image would be needed to discern such detail):

    14c. When viewed from the side, the near wing of Whitehead's No. 21 aircraft arches up. This can be seen in both contemporary photos of the original aircraft on the ground and in modern photos of replicas in flight. When employing an early camera with a wide aperture and a slow shutter-speed, a slowly-rotating, large propeller-blade might wholly or partially obscure a wing located behind it;
     

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