why didn't the Wright brothers think of ailerons?

Discussion in '1800-1914' started by Marcel, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Last week when I was at Kitty Hawk I saw the brothers' ingenious wing warping system. But I couldn't help wondering why they came up with it. They already knew the concept of a horizontal rudder, their elevator, so the step to using the same thing to increase our lessen the wings lift ( =ailerons) seems small to me. Yet they didn't think of it and needed a paper box to invent the warping system.

    Just wondering.
     
  2. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Because birds twist their wings, copied in early gliders and then by the Wrights.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  3. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #3 nuuumannn, Apr 20, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
    Marcel, the idea of twisting the wing tips goes back to the Wrights' first kite glider, which was built in 1899/1900 and was subsequently used in almost all their future aircraft. The apocryphal story is that Wilbur grabbed a rectangular box that a tyre (or 'tire') inner tube came in and twisted it at both ends, after thinking about birds' wings.

    At that time, in fact until 1904, the concept of an inset hinged control surface had not been fitted to an actual full scale aircraft, and even then it was a copy of a Wright glider, in France by a chap named Robert Esnault Pelterie, or REP; one of the forgotten aviation pioneers who contributed a great deal to aviation. Wing warping worked for the Wrights and their control surfaces that were eventually fitted to the 1903 Flyer came about through trial and error, as you know; the hinged rudder, for example came from flights with the 1902 glider, the first aircraft to be capable of being controlled about all three axes of movement. This was made hinged because of adverse yaw flipping the aircraft onto its back and nearly killing Orville, so the rudder was made hinged instead of fixed; initially it was tied in to the operation of the wing warping cradle, but after the 1904 Flyer was given a separate lever next to the now upright pilot in the 1905 Flyer.

    Anyway, back to ailerons (French for 'little wing') versus wing warping, the aileron didn't catch on immediately and after Wilbur did his demo flights in France in 1908, everyone was convinced that wing warping was the way ahead - including, famously, Louis Bleriot, who reputedly stated, after seeing Wilbur flying his aircraft at Le Mans, "To hell with the aileron...", such was the impact on aviation the Wrights ideas made at the time.

    At this stage, French aircraft were largely not controllable around all three axes of movement, possessing no lateral control and being fitted with only elevators and a rudder, so when making a turn the aircraft side slipped clumsily all over the place. For longitudinal stability, the answer was increased dihedral on the main planes, which led to the term 'total stability type' for aeroplanes without lateral controls. When Wilbur made his demo flight in August 1908, he gracefully banked his machine into turns and captured the imagination of everyone present; he had quite the impact and until that time, few in France believed the claims that had been made about the Wrights.

    Structurally ailerons made better sense and it was only until greater production of types in the couple of years before WW1 that they became widespread, but wing warping hung on in the likes of Bleriot's military variants of the XI and the Etrich Taube, for example. From a hindsight point of view its easy to make the leap to ailerons, but you have to remember that what we know today took a while to gain a foot hold and few realise just how far in advance the Wrights were over everyone else by the end of the first decade of the Twentieth Century, so they naturally had enormous influence. After then, however, France led the world in aviation, even into the first few years of the Great War, when ailerons superseded the Wrights' wing warping.
     
  4. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Nuuman. Of course I am looking with hindsight, but the whole wing warping seems to be so clumsy. I wondered while the brothers seemed to have a tendency of using the simplest solution, why they didn't do this. Your point of them focusing on the buzzard's flight makes sense.
    I don't want to take anything away from the Wrights. What they did was an amazing feat of research, insight and enginering. Many of the things they used have not been invented by them, but they seemed to have an overview over all problems involved that others lacked. Further more they seemed to be able to solve anything, like constructing a revolutionary engine in a very short time.
     
  5. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    I think that in the early days the wing warping and ailerons were purely to keep the aircraft level in flight, though it was used on combat aircraft like the eindekkers.
     
  6. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but to the Wrights, wing warping was the solution; the aileron didn't exist in 1899. It took awhile for lateral control to evolve as few understood how a bird moved in flight and this is where the Wrights were ahead, since with their wing warping, they could bank their aircraft in a turn, something other pioneers took a while to grasp. In Alberto Santos Dumont's rather odd looking 14bis, in which he stood upright to fly, the aircraft had no means of assisting or correcting lateral motion; it had no control surfaces on its main wings, only a pivoting elevator and it didn't even have a controllable rudder for steering. It had accentuated dihedral on the main wings. Yet, this ungainly machine made the first sustained powered flight in mainland Europe in October 1906 - it flew in a straight line for a few hundred metres. Compare with the Wrights, who had flown over 100 flying hours in three powered aeroplanes by the end of 1905.

    The wing warping system was extremely clumsy to operate and flying an early Wright aircraft, including their gliders was an awkward process. I got the opportunity to lie in the position on a Wright 1902 glider reproduction (at the excellent Virginia Air Museum) and worked the wing warping cradle. You really had to shove with your hips in the direction of the turn, but as soon as you had done so, you had to centre it, otherwise, the thing would just keep turning unabated in the direction of the turn until you fell out of the sky. Of course the rudder was interconnected with the wing warping for balance in the turn until the ground breaking 1905 Flyer, which could carry two people. Wilbur was initially against adding another lever for controlling the rudder, believing it would be too great a work load for the average person, so ther rudder was connected to the wing warping cradle. The elevator however was extremely sensitive and required very slight movement of a lever operated by the pilot's left hand. If pulled too steeply the thing would stall and, again, fall out of the sky.

    It's interesting to note that when Louis Bleriot turned to wing warping, he used almost the exact same method of structural design; even the fabric on the wings was laid diagonally across the surface as on the Wright machines - I've had the opportunity also to examine an early Bleriot aircraft. Although Bleriot used a single stick for wing warping and elevator the principle was the same. Interestingly enough, Bleriot and REP mentioned in my early post, in a gentlemanly gesture jointly applied for the patent for a single control stick, which has become the standard of control, along with a pivoting bar to actuate the rudder.
     
  7. simplex

    simplex New Member

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    #7 simplex, May 10, 2016
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
    The ailerons were patented when Wilbur Wright was 1 year old (see: Matthew Piers Watt Boulton - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

    If you read a few articles written at the end of 1905 and the beginning of 1906, you will see that the majority of them look like clipped from tabloids, see: References (Wright Brothers).

    One of the most representative is "La Conquête de l’Air par deux Marchands de Cycles", author - Robert Coquelle. This journalist, who visited the Wright brothers on December 12, 1905, realized immediately the two inventors "took their contemporaries for idiots".

    This is exactly what he wrote:

    "— Permettez, M. Wright, vous avez absolument le droit de me refuser de voir votre aéroplane. Mais je ne dois pas vous cache que si vous vous obstinez à ne pas me donnez des explications complémentaires sur vos expériences, votre conduite sera sévèrement jugée par le monde aéronautique européen. On dira que vous avez « bluffé » et, qu’en fait de vol plané, vous avez surtout pris vos contemporains pour des imbéciles."
    ( Source: 1905-12-23 to 26, Robert Coquelle, “La Conquête de l’Air par deux Marchands de Cycles”, L’Auto, Paris, Samedi 23 - Mardi 26 décembre 1905, Scrapbook - Library of Congress, US.)
     
  8. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Coquelle did not realise, nor did he write, that the Wrights took their contemporaries for fools. I don't know how well you read French, but the whole paragraph is conditional.

    "...que si vous vous obstinez a..." .....That IF you persist in ...... (not giving explanations)

    "On dira...." Future tense, if the Wrights do one thing then another WILL follow. People will say that they had taken their contemporaries for fools (imbeciles).

    He goes on to say that as a result of this outburst the brothers explain that they cannot show Coquelle the aircraft as it is totally disassembled, but they will give 'renseignements', best translated as information in this context, which will at least partly satisfy his curiosity.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    #9 GrauGeist, May 10, 2016
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
    From the Automotor Journal, January 6, 1906:

    THE "WHITE FLYER/* — THE MOTOR^DRIVEN AEROPLANE OF THE BROTHERS WRIGHT.

    Any lingering doubts that may still be entertained in regard to the reality of the Wright Brothers performances are now likely to yield to the circumstantial report which the enterprise of our contemporary, L'Auto, has enabled it to place before its readers. The French journal in question, as soon as it was convinced that the rumours of successful motor-driven aeroplane flight were more than mere rumours, at once dispatched a representative (M. Coquelle) to Dayton, Ohio, to investigate matters on the spot, and this investigator has furnished to his paper a detailed account, the perusal of which goes far towards removing any doubt as to the substantial correctness of all the claims that have been made on behalf of the two brilliant experimenters, and fully establishes the general truth of the statements previously published on the subject by Captain Ferber.

    This is not, however, the only confirmation of the statements we were enabled to make last week, which has since come to hand. A further report has been furnished by Mr. Weaver to M. Frank Lahm, of the French Aero Club. Mr. Weaver, it will be remembered, was some time ago commissioned to ascertain what truth there was in the various rumours, and, in accordance with instructions, he sent to M. Lahm a telegram (which we reproduced at the time) stating that the claims made on behalf of the Brothers Wright were fully substantiated. Mr. Weaver's report, dispatched by post at about the same time as his telegram, is now to hand, and fully confirms the report rendered by M. Coquelle.

    The whole subject is of extreme interest, and it will ultimately, no doubt, be regarded as epoch-marking in the highest degree. We are dealing with the first reports of absolutely the first successful attempts to accomplish mechanical flight, and it is not astonishing, therefore, that a large mass of material has already found its way into the Press. The discovery of exactly what the Wright Brothers have accomplished, and its publication to the world under the circumstances, must certainly be regarded as a credit to the enterprise of French journalism.

    For the benefit of our readers we propose to sum up the available data on this absorbing topic under the following headings : —

    1. What the Wright Brothers have actually accomplished.

    2. The evidence on which the statements are based.

    3. The means by which they have effected it.

    4. The reasons for their reticence.


    1« What the Wright Brothers have actually accomplished*

    The record of actual accomplishment is shown by all the further evidence which has now come to light, to be almost exactly what it was declared to, be in the letter to Captain Ferber, mentioned in our number of Dec. 9th, that is to say, they have made a large number of different flights averaging a speed of a kilometre to the minute (or not much under 40 miles an hour), and on one occasion actually covered a distance of 24^ miles before touching ground.

    These flights and experiments were carried out in a large meadow in the neighbourhood of Dayton, where on the ground of a friendly farmer the two enthusiastic aeronauts, who in Dayton and private life are bicycle manufacturers, had erected a shed for the accommodation of their flying machine. Round this patch of prairie, which was a rough quadrangle of about i£ kiloms. in extent, flights were conducted and various manoeuvres and experiments at different heights from the ground carried out. The maximum height attained was about 80 feet, and the "White Flyer" (the name the Wrights have bestowed on their machine) careered round and round the field till the various distances which we have previously recorded were accomplished.
    The actual distances over the ground mentioned are only approximate, for the method of calculating distance was by means of a small anemometer rigged up on the flying machine, the anemometer of course only actually recording the distances travelled through the air. Experiment, however, proved that the records substantially agreed in most cases with the distance travelled over the ground, as the flights were conducted round and round approximately the same course.

    As in their gliding experiments, the recent flights of the Wright Brothers with their motor-driven aeroplane, have been extraordinarily conspicuous for a total absence of accident, due, no doubt, very largely to the remarkable mixture of bravery and caution which we have previously pointed out as characteristic of all their proceedings. In fact, in nearly all the flights they succeeded in ending up and coming to ground near the shed from which they started, and only exceptionally had the aeroplane to be carried back any distance by other means of transport* The nearest approach to an accident was on one occasion when Mr. Wilbur Wright swooped at slightly too acute an angle towards the ground, and instead of righting himself again descended abruptly amid a numerous herd of pigs, whose astonishment when this portent — this enormous white bird— descended upon them like a bolt from the blue, may be imagined. The witnesses, to whose evidence we shall next refer, and who were present at many of the actual flights executed, were most impressed, at any rate during the later flights, with the amazing manageability of the machine. It moved up and down, executed turns and figures exactly as the aeronaut managing it desired, and on one occasion performed an almost exact figure of eight inside a square of some 400 metres. Wilbur and Orville Wright, as in their gliding experiments in North Carolina, managed, rode, or flew (whichever expression is preferred), the machine alternately. The last splendid flight on the 5th of October, of 24} miles, was really only brought to a conclusion by the exhaustion of the petrol supply for their motor.

    2« The Evidence on which the Statements are based*
    The campaign of experiment for the year was brought somewhat abruptly to a conclusion with the
    last great flight of October 5th, owing to the fact that one of their lriends who had been privileged to witness previous experiments, although "straitly charged not to do so." had been talking rather big about the wonderful things that he had seen. The consequence was that a large detachment of Daytonians assembled on the ground, to the great annoyance of the aeronauts, who, fora reasons to which we shall refer later, were still anxious to avoid anything in the nature of publicity. They accordingly decided to bring their experiments for this year to a conclusion somewhat sooner than they had intended, and dismantled their aeroplane with a view to thoroughly overhauling it and introducing various improvements. M. Coquelle consequently was unable to see anything more than the parts of the machine which has established these wonderful records, and had to derive what consolation he might from inspecting the shed from which it had repeatedly issued to its triumphs. But he was able to collect very thorough evidence while in the district from a number of trustworthy people who had witnessed the flights. The first of these to whom he betook himself was a resident in the neighbourhood of the "scene of the exploits," who discharges the functions of a Justice of the Peace, Mr. M. D. Beard.
    He bore witness to having seen the Wright aeroplane manoeuvring above his property with what he described as extraordinary ease, and he felt convinced that the intrepid manipulator was not in the slightest danger.
    Practically the same statements were made by Mr. Beard to Mr. Weaver, who, as we have above explained, investigated the question independently, and to his name may be added that of Mr. W. C. Foust, of Dayton.
    Altogether, there are some seven independent witnesses whose names have been collected, and who are prepared to vouch for the correctness of the reports furnished.

    (continues next post)
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    #10 GrauGeist, May 10, 2016
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
    From The Automotor Journal, January 6, 1906 (continued)

    3<< The Means by which they have Effected It*
    No photograjhs or authentic reproductions or representations of the actual motor-driven aeroplane with
    which these flights were accomplished have, as far as we are aware, been made public, though a sketch has been published which must be regarded as mainly imaginary or ideal, as the machine was admittedly taken to pieces at the time of M. Coquelle's visit. By drawing attention, however, to the differences between the motor-driven machine and the aeroplane with which the long glides of 1902 were effected, a general idea of the structure of the machine can easily be formed. For this purpose we reproduce the illustration of that machine which we gave on Feb. 6, 1904. It will be remembered that in general outline it resembled the aeroplane of Mr. Chanute, without the polyhedral tail. Instead, it was provided with a vertical tail at the rear for steering sideways and keeping the machine "on a level keel," and a small plane mounted in front, the angle of which was controlled by the operator by means of cords. In gliding from a height, the way this machine was manipulated was as follows : — If the downward tendency was too great, the front movable plane was slightly elevated, causing the whole machine to rise against the wind. If the wind were raising it too much, the movable plane was accordingly depressed, tending to cause the front of the machine to dip deeper into the air and swoop towards the ground. If what Mr. Chanute terms "a whirling billow of air" tipped up one or the other side of the machine, this was corrected for by movements of the vertical rudder, causing the aeroplane to swing round like a bird executing a curve, and so bring the depressed side up level again.

    The motor-driven aeroplane with which the successful flights of the present year have been conducted closely resembles the gliding machine which we now reproduce, excepting of course that it has a motor and propellers attached. There are, however, other differences. Instead of the single guiding or controlling movable plane in front, there are two of them mounted, one above the other, and somewhat higher in position. Similarly the tail has been duplicated, there being now two tails, a couple of yards apart, behind each of the propellers.
    The general dimensions of the aeroplane are slightly greater than the gliding machine, being now 40 ft. from tip to tip, the large planes themselves being 6 ft. wide, and separated from one another by a space of 6 ft.
    The number of vertical struts also has been increased. They are stayed and reinforced by diagonal piano wires, and the whole apparatus made very strong and rigid.

    There has been no attempt to sacrifice everything for lightness. The motor is mounted at the extreme rear of the lower aeroplane. It is a 4-cylinder machine, constructed by the Wright Brothers themselves, and present ing much similarity with a 4-cylinder Pope-To'edo motor of the same power, viz., 24-h.p The two propellers are mounted about half-way between the upper and lower planes close to the rear struts, being stayed to the corresponding front struts, and are chain -driven from the motor, revolving at a very high rate of speed. The struts of the whole machine are formed of birchwood with light canvas to form the gliding surface.
    As in the guiding machine the aeronaut lies prone, his chest resting on a cushion, and his head just below the two movable guiding p'anes, his feet not being very far in front of the motor. To produce proper balancing, a dead weight of some 50 lbs. is attached to the front part of the aeroplane to assist in counterbalancing the motor, which weighs some 250 lbs. In a recent statement, signed by both the Brothers Wright, they observe that no special pains have been taken to render their machine exceptionally light. The motor is no lighter than usual, and the whole thing is very solidly and firmly made. As at quite ordinary speeds they find that it is possible to lift and maintain in the air 66 lbs. pcr'h.p. and very much more at higher speeds, this is quite credible and shows pretty clearly that as far as mere engine power is concerned, flying has been possible for many years past. It is skilled manipulation of the machinery which has been wanting.

    It will be obvious from what we have said above, and what we have on previous occasions put before our readers, that the greater part of the conquest of the air, which the Wright Brothers have effected, was accomplished when they learned successfully to perform their record glides with the machine which we formerly illustrated and now again reproduce. They made no secret at the time, and authorities on the subject like Mr. Chanute have been always fully convinced, that their success in gliding was due partially to the horizontal position of the aeronaut — a position, by the way, which it requires at first, at any rate, considerable pluck to assume — and the arrangement of the subsidiary planes, particularly the movable and controlling front plane.
    When a machine of this type had proved to be repeatedly capable of performing glides up to nearly 300 yds. in length against a moderate wind by being simply started from the top of a hill, it was obvious that with motive power sufficient to represent the wind, and but a little extra power sufficient to represent the effect of gravitation, extended flight would be possible, and that the manipulation and management of the machine would not be greatly different, and this is what practice has proved to be the case. The really important elements of their invention therefore, consist of these three things, and we put them in order of increasing importance — the horizontal position of the aeronaut, the vertical tail or tails, and the forward approximately horizontal controlling plane, or planes. There may be other things which we do not know of as yet, but it is obviously those elements which have, so far as can be judged, made the difference between the extraordinary success which the Wrights have accomplished, and the ignominious failures which have been the record of practically everybody else.

    The absolute control and manoeuvrability of the machine, together with the degree of safety attained,
    are well illustrated by the fact that on one occasion when the engine stopped, the aeroplane glided slowly and quietly to the ground without occasioning the slightest trouble or the slightest injury. In fact, their regular method of coming to earth is to stop the engine some little time before they intend alighting and then to glide down.

    A few words should be added regarding the method of starting adopted. The two guides or supports, which are clearly shown underneath the old aeroplane, and which are preserved in the motor-driven machine, are mounted on the top of a triangular little trolley, which runs on wheels on an ordinary rail. The aeroplane is mounted on this and held steady while the aeronaut assumes his recumbent position. The motor is started, the propellers begin to revolve, and the aeroplane runs down the rail on its carriage, being held straight by an assistant operator for the first few yards, and then as it gathers speed it rises in the air (leaving its carriage behind it) " as easily and gracefully," said one of the eye-witnesses, " as a butterfly."

    4<< The Reasons of their Reticence*
    There remains to be considered the extraordinary reticence of the Wrights in regard to their marvellous
    experiments — a reticence so remarkable that it has surrounded the whole of their proceedings (since in 1903 they packed up their first motor-driven aeroplane and "went home convinced that the day of flying machines had come") with an atmosphere of distinctly piquant — not to say irritating — mystery.
    It is so opposed to the usual American methods, though it must be admitted that it is not opposed
    to the previous record of the Wright Brothers themselves. The public generally knew absolutely nothing
    about their experiments on North Carolina Beach at Kittyhawk until they described them in the Journal of the Society of Western Engineers. Probably it was their intention to electrify the world when they were quite satisfied with what they had accomplished at Dayton. A remarkable point is that they apparently have not been satisfied. This is in part, we believe, due to troubles, if they can be called troubles, with their motor, which developed some very troublesome idiosyncrasies. It gave 24-h.p. quite regularly on the bench for apparently as long as they cared to run it, or at any rate for as long as it had been run. It
    also apparently gave 24-h.p. when mounted on the aeroplane, and when flight commenced. It kept up its full power fairly well for a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, and then gradually fell off to about 14-h.p.
    This, no doubt, has prevented their giving such practical demonstrations of the art of flying as they would have wished. Probably also there are considerations of patents. On reflection, we are disposed to rate very little the suggestions put forward by M. Archdeacon and others, that the Wrights have nothing patentable, and that their success is entirely due to their skill. It is mainly due to their skill, no doubt, but it is impossible to deny that it is also due to a very large extent to the improvements in construction to which we have referred above. These are ingenious, they are decidedly novel, and they have produced a new and useful effect never before approached. If this is not good subject matter for a patent, we would like to ask what is ? From this point of view, of course, a motor-driven aeroplane would come under any patents they may have taken out for the gliding machine we illustrate. But that ought to be protection, ample and sufficient.

    That they may have made other improvements of distinct importance, and that they wish to be fully protected is but probable. These considerations would alone be sufficient to explain their reticence. Further reasons may be their natural disinclination to have experiments, which they still obviously regard as only tentative — " the things they have done but earnest of the things that they will do " — witnessed by a gaping and unsympathetic mob.

    How far they have gone in the effort to secure secrecy and prevent premature publication of their
    doings has been shown by an incident unearthed by the enterprising M. Coquelle. It appears that the Dayton Daily News had a sensational article already in type last September, describing the Wrights' experiments. It was only with great difficulty that they succeeded at the last moment (for a consideration) in preventing its appearance. M. Coquelle actually obtained. possession of a copy of this suppressed paper, containing the report to which we refer, provided with the following headlines:
    — " Victorious Experiments of Flying Machine."
    " Wright Aeroplane comes safely to Earth after a Remarkable flight near Dayton."
    The whole article was some fifty lines in length, and was illustrated by portraits of the two Wrights. Its
    existence surely is the most complete confirmation, if any were needed, of the evidence we have brought forward above.

    In any case, whether Governments are generous or stingy, and whether patents have been applied for or not, their unique skill, if they are willing to condescend publicly to exhibit their prowess in Europe or America, ought certainly to ensure them an ample return for the rest of their days. And there is every reason to believe that they also regard the honour of having been the first to solve the problem of the ages, as no small part of the reward they have so justly earned.

    - end of article -

    For anyone that may be interested in the full edition of "The Automotor Journal - 1906" that this portion was copied from, goto: Full text of "The Automotor Journal: 1st Half 1906"

    It's a great read of the breaking technology of the day.
     
  11. simplex

    simplex New Member

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    Even the flights from Dec. 17, 1903 are not supported by evidence. (1) There is the declaration of Alpheus W. Drinkwater who said the Wright Brothers had only glided that day. (2) There also exists a well known picture which once magnified reseals (see the image) not so well known details like the visible slope in front of the flyer. Even admitting the photo was taken on Dec. 17, 1903, also it was published for the first time in September 1908, this can not be considered a true flight, as long as gravitation towed the apparatus with a considerable force.

    Dec-17-1903-Flyer1TakingOffFirstFlight120Feet.jpg 1) Detail from the well known picture showing "Flyer I 1903" taking off on Dec. 17, 1903. The slope going down in front of the plane is clearly visible
    .

    Alpheus Drinkwater - The Wright Brothers did not fly in 1903 - Small.jpg
    3) The declaration of Alpheus W. Drinkwater: "the brothers only “glided” off Kill Devil Hill that day. Their first real flight came on May 6, 1908".
     
  12. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I might point out a few things, first of all, the verified eyewitness accounts of the time takes precedence over 50 year old retrospect.

    Secondly, virtually ALL aircraft of those early days needed an means of assist to get airborn. The requirement for powered flight was they they were able to self-propel once aloft and avoid crashing. And it's absolutely no secret that the Wrights took advantage of the slope and a rail system to get airborn.

    Perhaps you should take the time to read the two-part article I posted a little earlier that covers their flights in detail. The Automotor Journal was an absolute authority of the day for all things motorized, by the way.
     
  13. simplex

    simplex New Member

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    "They carried the machine up on the Hill", John T. Daniels, eye witness

    The fact that Flyer I 1903 just glided, aided partly by the engine, was confirmed apparently unwillingly by John T. Daniels, an eye witness, in a letter addressed to a friend:

    "Manteo NC, June 30 —- 1933,

    Dear friend,

    I Don’t know very much to write about the flight. I was there, and it was on Dec the 17, — 1903 about 10 o’clock. They carried the machine up on the Hill and Put her on the track, and started the engine … and he went about 100 feet or more, and then Mr. Wilbur taken the machine up on the Hill and Put her on the track and he went off across the Beach about a half a mile …
    Sincerely,
    John T. Daniels, Manteo NC, Box 1W"
    Source: Eyewitness Account of First Flight by John Daniels
     
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  14. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Full text of "The Automotor Journal: 1st Half 1906"
     
  15. simplex

    simplex New Member

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    Regarding the eye witnesses, Dayton Daily News wrote on Oct. 6, 1905 an incredible story that talks about many people, including authorities from different towns, who saw the Wrights flying. No name is mentioned. Such a text has zero credibility (and take into account that it is a primary source). Many other journals and newspapers were inspired by this SF article.

    The Flight of a flying Machine
    ——
    Was in the Air Twenty-Five Minutes Thursday Afternoon Near Simms Station.
    ——
    WRIGHT BROTHERS HAVE PERFECTED INVENTION.
    ——
    Have Been Experimenting All Week on the Huffman Prairies, East of Dayton, With Their Aeroplane.
    ——
    LARGE PARTY SEES TESTS.
    ——
    The Inventors and Builders of the Machine Have Built a Shed on the Prairie for Storing the Big Air Ship — Flights Have Startled the Residents of the Neighborhood. Great Interest Manifested.
    ——​
    With improvements innumerable made to their craft, after months of work, Orville and Wilbur Wright, the youthful Dayton inventors, are making a series of flights in the vicinity of Simm’s Station, on the Dayton, Springfield and Urbana electric road, several miles from Dayton. These trials have been undisputedly some of the most successful expeditions that flying machines have ever made.

    Residents of the locality where the experiments have been lately carried on turn out en masse at each ascension, and predict great results from the enterprise of the two Daytonians.

    Likewise, many from Dayton and a number of authorities from different towns are daily witnesses of the remarkable flights, and are similarly profuse in their predictions of success.

    Thursday afternoon a flight was made, and according to reliable witnesses, the machine soared gracefully for some 25 minutes, responding to all demands of the pilot. At the expiration of this time, fear that the machine could not be sustained aloft much longer, a descent was made by one of the inventors.

    Every day this week flights have been made, almost, with equal success.

    The expectations of the Wright brothers have been decidedly surpassed by their most recent experiments, and they feel that their craft is in the immediate neighborhood of perfection.

    The brothers have been experimenting for the past two years. Their first successes attracted wide attention and were chronicled throughout the country.

    Several Dayton people went out to the Huffman prairies Thursday afternoon to witness the trials. Some time ago the Wright brothers, who are both expert mechanics, conceived the idea of building a flying machine. They made some of their drawings in this city and from here they went to South Carolina to build the machine and try it out. They worked diligently to perfect their plans and finally succeeded in building a machine which would fly.

    They gave the machine a severe tryout on one of the long stretches of beach in the south, and after a stay of over two years!! they returned to Dayton and built a shed on the Huffman prairies, where they are giving their machine a thorough test.

    Source: 1905-10-06, “The Flight of a Flying Machine”, Dayton Daily News, Ohio, US, October 6, 1905, Scrapbook - Library of Congress, US.
     
  16. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    If you had taken the time to read what I posted earlier, you would have seen a great many names of witnesses, including a judge. A judge would most certainly have a great deal of credibility.

    So why are you trying so hard to discredit something that has been confirmed by official aeronautical associations and other established authorities over the past century?

    And your highlights indicating "nameless" people is no different than seeing an event on the news - does the reporter contact each and every person seen in the crowd during the telecast? No.
    Do they contact a few people who may have been directly involved or in direct proximity? Yes.

    The Automotor Journal covered all of that in great detail and like I mentioned earlier, were a difinitive source of reliable information for the industry.
     
  17. simplex

    simplex New Member

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    Those witnesses of the Wright brothers are highly dubious men and if you take them one by one you discover that they are not disinterested people. For example, on Dec. 3, 1905, Orville Wright took Weaver, the brother in law of Lahm (american balloonist living in Paris who was trying to verify the claims of the brothers), to the farmer Stauffer who had rented the farm that included the pasture where the two brothers were testing their planes. The story of Stauffer sounds like coming from a Joules Verne novel and you immediately suspect he was paid to lie. The Wrights were his subtenants. There were commercial relations between them.

    "Nous sommes allés ensuite chez le fermier Stauffer qui demeure un kilomètre plus loin. C’est le vrai type de fermier américain, bavard, au visage enjoué. Il a en bail la ferme où se trouve le champ d’expériences. Le 5 octobre, il travaillait dans le champ à côte, où le terrain est plus élevé que le pré. Lorsqu'il a remarque l’aéroplane en l’air, il disait a l’homme qui l’aidait: « Voilà les Wright qui recommencent », et il continuait son travail, mais, en même temps, avec un œil sur l’immense oiseau blanc qui suivait sa course autour du champ. « Je continuais toujours mon travail, ajouta-t-il, jusqu'à ce que j’arrive à la barrière, la sacrée chose tournait toujours, je croyais qu’elle ne s’arrêterait jamais ». Je lui ai demande combien de temps il pensait que le vol avait duré, et il m’a répondu que cela lui semblait bien avoir duré une heure."

    Source: 1905-12-31, “Nouveaux Détails sur les Frères Wright et Leur Aéroplane”, L’Auto, Paris, December 31, 1905.

    The initial text was in English but was translated by Lahm for the french public.
     
  18. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Everything from that era sounds like it comes from a Jules Verne novell. Language and culture has changed much in 100 years.

    But wether you are right or not, fact is that when the Wrights came to Europe, they were clearly ahead of everyone here in 1908.
     
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  19. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    So I assume that you (once again) have not read the article from the Automotor Journal.

    It seems to me that you don't want to accept the truth and are trying very hard to work around it.

    So I think we should stop at this point and see who it is, that you "think" was the first, Simplex...some Frenchman perhaps?

    Or perhaps that Whitehead and his mysterious flying canoe?
     
  20. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Oef, nationalism comes into play, now we should start taking cover :lol:

    You know, Dave, actually who is "first" is irrelevant. It depends much on what you want to accept as the definition of flight. One could say for instance Maxim was earlier than the Wrights, after all he flew a powered aircraft at 10cm for a couple of seconds.
    Fact is that the Wrights inspired many aviation enthousiasts, especially in France, which made that the development of aviation gained momentum, resulting in very practical aircraft within a couple of years. This you cannot say of any other contester to the title "first".
     
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