Was reading another thread and just wondered what the term PAN stands for? I know it's use and the types of situation when it would be used just wondered on it's origins. A lowly engineer here so a bit outside my field! Thanks.
The French were just behind the Wright brothers in the early aviation scene, hence the many terms we use that derive from the French, such as Pan, Mayday, aileron (little wing) and 'Br' for mist, to name just a few. If things had worked out only slightly differently the French would have kept their leading role in aviation.
As you may know, the Wrights were very enthusiastically received when they made exhibition flights in France, not that long after their first flight.
Also, our most famous early 'ace', Eddie Rickenbacker, achieved his victories flying a French SPAD. At that time the best the USA could build was the rather lame Thomas-Morse Scout, not up to the then standard for combat.
Today, thanks in part to massive government support, bribery, corruption and British-built wings the French are trying to again come to the fore.
Chucks, you may have forgoten other french words such as Monoqoque, Fatigue, etc... Yactno 1, about the French getting it right, just look at the aviation industry today, and find out where the Airbusses, Mirages, Falcons, Super Etendards, a good number of Hellis are made. You might see, they have done better than most of us. Plz dont bash the French for nothing, give credit where it is due.
The French were just behind the Wright brothers in the early aviation scene
To be honest, I think that in everything except being the first off the ground, the French were ahead. After all, the Wrights were so frustrated at the total lack of interest in the USA that they eventually moved to England.
In the meantime if you visualise a modern light aircraft, the Wright Flyer, and an early Bleriot next to each other you are left in little doubt about who the modern aircraft's distant ancestor is.
As far as I've heard, apparantly it was a New Zealander who was the first in the air with a powered aircraft, the Germans weren't far behind either but the Wright brothers had much better PR! All the others forgot to or couldn't proove it was done. The sound barrier was broken in 1944 by a Me 262 pilot in southern Germany ( coming down afterwards with a warped airframe due to the buffeting/compressability) after being ordered straight back to base for some reason. He was repremanded and all high speed flights were banned because the machine was so rare at the time!
I had always thought that the Wrights tried to patent the ideas of powered flight and to issue injunctions and court actions against any other US companies also involved in powered flight? It was all the ensuing legal mess that effectively lost the US their lead and that took them decades to regain.
Some of us might be a few sandwiches short of a picnic. That doesn't bother me much but it causes my wife to emit distress calls.
I think the main contribution that the Wright brothers made was to discover an effective means of controlled flight. There had been plenty of others who had some sort of airfoil (aerofoil, whatever) and a reasonable power-to-weight ratio or else a high enough place to start from but they all came a cropper due to lack of control: Sir George Cayley's coachman, Otto Lilienthal, etc, etc.
What really got the Wrights' goat was that the then head of the Smithsonian Institution, Langley, was officially credited by the US government with being the first to achieve powered flight. (He used up a lot of money trying to fly off a houseboat moored in the Potomac River. His contraption always ended up in the drink but he argued that one should count the distance from the deck to the drink as 'flight'. The Wrights were so steamed up about this that the original Wright Flyer stayed on exhibit in London until 1947 or so.)
It is true that they tried to nail the lid down tight on the basic idea of powered flight, thus wasting a lot of time in court that should have been spent developing the early aircraft. They went after Curtiss hammer-and-tongs for patent infringement, for instance.
As a Yank working with a lot of Brits I do occasionally enjoy citing the the first man to fly in England. That would be an American, 'Colonel' Samuel Franklin Cody. It used to get pretty smoked up in our bar when the 'When I's got to hangar-flying their Shackletons so that I would just have to drop a clanger to give the rest of us a chance to be heard.