CLEMENT ADER'$ 1890 EOLE
(NAMED AFTER THE GREEK GOD OF THE WINDS)
“I have resolved the problem after much work,
fatigue, and money". ..
It has been sometimes claimed that Frenchman,
Clement Ader made the first "heavier-than-air"
flight. If an uncontrolled hop of about 165 feet
can be called "flight". .
Frenchman, Clement Ader, was attempting to fly in a powered aircraft,
and seemed dedicated to trying to emulate the birds. The appearance of his Eole
was bat-like, with a stean driven propeller which resembled feathers. It was re-
ported to have skimmed the ground at a height of around 8 inches for a distance of
165 feet with Ader being totally enclosed within the Eole.
It was powered by a steam engine complete with a high pressure boiler .
and condenser. Far from being a practical flying machine, it can lay claim to be the first manned craft to take off from level ground.
To fund further experiments, Ader turned to the French Ministry of War, which was eager to explore any "secret weapon" that might
give France an edge over its neighbor Germany. Armed with the first EVER military budget for airplane development, Ader built a
twin-engined aircraft, the Avion III. But when tested in front of military observers in October 1897, it failed to get off the ground.
Funding was cut off, and Ader’s experiments came to an end. While imaginative and daring, Ader's experiments did little to open new
paths to controlled and sustained powered flights.
1853 CAYLEY GLIDER
In 1853, Sir George
Cayley, after a long career
in early aviation, built a large gliding
machine and coaxed his willowly coachman
‘ft, into testing the device. The darn thing flew but
I’ the coachman, as the story goes, protested saying
he was hired to drive a coach and NOT to risk his life flying a glider.
Building his first aerial device in 1796, many consider Cayley the first
person to truly understand the underlying principles and forces of flight.
Octive Chanute was a genuine pioneer
of glider flight in the United States.
He focused his efforts on the develop-
ment of a mechanized system of con-
trolling flight rather than the shifting
of one's body weight.
He developed several successful gliders during the late
1800s and between 1896 and 1897, Chanute's assistants
made over 1000 flights in his machines. All this happened
when he was over 60 years old I
His accumulated knowledge of early flight was documented in his book
“Progress of Flying Machines, published in 1894. The Wright brothers
sought his help in the development of their gliders. They enjoyed a
close relationship with Chanute and their success in 1903 was due in
great part to their friendship.
1896 GLIDING PIONEER
JACOB DEGEN'5 1809 ORNITHOPTER
With a bit of science and a lot of showman-
ship, Degen actually used his wings to provide
just enough lift to rise with the help of the
balloon. Basically, he was just balloon jumping
in large leaps on a parade ground. Soon people
dropped the idea of flapping like a bird and
Jacob Degen, a Swiss clockmaker living
in Vienna, developed a machine with
beating wings which he tested while
suspended from a cord connected to
a counterweight, which he made lighter
as he improved his machine. Later, he
replaced the counterweight with a small
balloon and thus carried out a number
of publicized ascents in Vienna and Paris.
There was a major setback in the Champ-
de-Mars when a furious crowd broke the
machine into pieces. Picking himself up,
so to speak, Degen returned to the circuit
and ‘flew’ until 1817.
set out on a new concept: fixed wing aircraft,
‘§‘, }.VAVliI| Ill
‘—— mitt. ‘-
A BRAZILIAN CAPTIVATES PARIS
Combining ingenuity and courage with wealth, Alberto Santos-Dumont
scored victory after victory in the conquest of the air. The dashing
young plantation owner from Brazil spent lavishly in building sausage-shaped air
ships while establishing the very first airport for his growing fleet of dirigibles.
His first flight was made in 1898 in a cylindrical
balloon 80 feet long and propelled by a small gas-
oline engine suspended in a car below. He became
a well-known and popular figure, responding to mishaps
such as crashing on the roof of a hotel.
Sometimes DuMont travelled by air down the Champs
-Elysees stopping at the club for a drink. Parisians
could aways tell when he was there from the airship
tied up outside.
In 1901 Dumont flew his dirigible #6 from the Parisian suburb
$aint—Cloud around the Eiffel Tower and back in under 30 min-
utes to win a 100,000 franc prize.
Along with the patent drawing,
DuTempIe (1823-1890) included
specifications for his mid 19th
century monoplane that holds
clues as to his genious.
He suggested that it be built of wood or tubular
metal with the nacelle being covered or not “as
desired". The wings consisted of two cross-over
main spars braced in position by a network of
cords to which the fabric was attached.
WAS MADE FOR
The monplane was controlled by a steering wheel, rudder bar, and cables. The three
wheeled landing gear was fitted with shock obsorbers and was designed to be re-
tractable in flight. It had a span of 55 feet 9 inches and had a 13 foot propeller.
Later, DuTemp| e built a wing with a span of 98 foot 5 inches I
1_8i3 STEAM-DRIVEN AIRLINE
Serious and sustained interest in heavier-
than-air flight was triggered in 1840 by
the success of the steam engine applied
to transportation systems. Railroad con-
struction was booming as were
ocean-going steamships. Jumping
on the bandwagon, in 1843 an
ambitious English inventor William
Samual Henson patented an “Aerial
Steam Carriage for conveying
letters, goods, and passengers
from place to place".
. |.| lJl. ||. |!
Basing his ideas on Cayley's published research, Henson
imagined a monoplane with a cambered wing for extra lift, a
rudder and tailplane for control, and two pusher propellers.
It was to be powered by a 30hp steam engine in the fuselage.
Henson's grandiose plans for an Aerial Steam
Transit Company momentarily attracted the
interest of investors- the proposal for passenger
flights spanning the globe was rendered credible by fanciful illustrations of the Steam Carriage soaring over
exotic locations. But doubt and ridicule soon followed and although Henson built a small model of his aircraft,
he couldn't find anyone ready to put up the cash for a full-size version. As ambitious as the Aerial Carriage
was, the design was, nonetheless, one of the important stepping stones between the thories of Cayley and the
reality of flight in the 20th century.
J EAN-MARIE Le BRIS
and his 1868 ‘Artificial Albatross’
Le Bris built a giant 50 foot span
albatross, a bird he had studied on
his sea voyages. The body of the craft
was shaped like a canoe and the angle of
incidence of the wings was adjustable by pullys
and cords. The lifting surface was 215 square feet.
LeBris tested his albatross in 1868, making a few semi-
successful flights before the glider was totally destroyed.
He was murdered a few years later by a gang.
had hoped to build a ship of the air.
He persevered with his experiments despite personal hard-
ships and despite being relatively poor. His dedication and
Jean Marie LeBris was a pioneer and.
hard work have reserved him a place among other brave pioneers of early manned flight.
All over Europe, in the late 1800s, adventurous
minds were grappling with the problem of how to . , V | @
make effective, controlled flights. 1’
This frantic search for answers influenced a young
German engineer named Otto Lillenthal. The prospect
' ‘ of flight had fascinated Otto since his school days.
He had observed birds in flight, and correctly deduced that the curvature of a bird's
wing held the secret to its lifting properties. He constructed gliders with wings shaped
like those of a bird, and used ribs to create and maintain the curved wing profiles.
He engineered strong but light structures of bamboo and willow for the ribs, and stretched cotton
fabric tightly across this frame for the wings. A fixed vertical and horizontal tail unit was mounted
on a short bamboo extension at the rear.
Starting in 1891, he made over 2,000 successful flights in a number of esthetically beautiful gliders,
some of which were biplanes. However, his reliance on body weight control methods was to be his
'-"‘d°i"9- On a glider flight in 1896, while soaring in one of his inventions, a gust of wind lifted the nose
of the craft. The glider stalled and Lilienthal was unable to right it. He crashed so heavily that the
specially designed bamboo fender built to protect him was unable to absorb the shock. Tragically,
Otto died soon afterward.
.. And the World's First Pilot,
Francoiss Pilatre de Rosier; holds the honor of being the first person
in the world to make a successful ascent into the air.
The Montgolfier Brothers were eager to perfect a hot air balloon that would carry human
passengers. A balloon 74 feet high and 48 feet in diameter was constructed, and on Oct
15, 1783, de Rosier went up for a few minutes in a ‘captive’ balloon anchored to the
ground with a long rope. The pilot carried a supply of straw fuel to keep the air within
the bag heated. As a precautionary measure he also took along buckets of water and
sponges to keep the balloon from catching fire.
This ascension was soon followed by daring flights in free ballooons. De Rosier, sadly, was
killed in the first fatal accident on June 15, 1785, when his balloon caught fire in an
attempt to cross the English Channel.
'5 RICHARD PEARSE
Through the Scientific American magazine, Pearse kept in touch with
foreign inventers. He sems to have been working on ideas for powered
flight from 1899 and had built his first two-cylinder gasoline engine by
1902. Using bamboo, tubular steel, wire and canvas, he then constructed
the low aspect ratio monoplane.
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After considerable taxiing on his farm paddocks Pearse made his first public flight
~ attempt down the Main Waitohi Road adjacent to his farm. After a short distance
aloft, perhaps 50 yards, he crashed on top of his own gorse fence. No details were
' recorded by Pearse or onlookers of this historic flight. '
l 1901 FLYING
Inventor and aviation #21
enfhusiast G‘-l51'aVe Two years before the Wrights!
Whitehead, from Bridgeport,
Conn. , built this bird-like
flying machine and claimed
that he flew it over Long _, ”
Island Sound and back two , ‘5
years before the Wright H V ‘|
Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. Ag
It was powered by his own unique
acetylene engine driving two wide
contra-rotating propellers and had a
wing span of about 40 feet. The plane
folded up like an umbrella for easy storage and was quite an impressive piece of equipment.
The plane no longer exists but good reproductions have been made over the years.