View Full Version : Pilcher bilger (or Jarrett's reputation goes down the plughole)

Philip Whiteman
12th Dec 2003, 05:28
Facts from tonight's Horizon tosh:

1. Pilcher based his later designs on Otto Lilienthal's gliders. His flawed weight-shift control system exposed him to the same danger of stalling as Otto's. Had his Hawk not killed him through plain structural failure, he might well have died in a stalling accident.
2. Pilcher copied his multiplane powered aircraft design from Chanute. Like Chanute, he'd not thought of effective (Wright-pattern wing-warping or aileron) lateral control.
3. Pilcher's i.c. engine blew up.
4. The surviving Pilcher drawings show a quadraplane - not a triplane, as 'replicated' in the asinine TV programme.
5. There is no record of Pilcher's propeller design - so, naturally, he would have copied the props from Maxim's non-flying heap of junk (yes?)
6. Pilcher's multiple lift panel wings did not work and were a retrograde step from his earlier single-panel efforts, suggesting he had a limited idea of where he was going - or even that blind guesswork played a significant part in his research.
6. Pilcher had not though of, nor left any record of, the pilot suspension sytem used in the replica, nor the problem of propeller torque effect, nor the Wright-pattern wing warping that allowed the 'replica' to fly.

And then the credulous viewer is expected to believe that dear old Percy nearly beat the Wrights to it.

Absolute balls.

12th Dec 2003, 05:35
Pistols at dawn between the two Philips is it then?

12th Dec 2003, 11:03
Agreed 100% I am surprised and disappointed that a programme with Horizon's reputation for quality could broadcast something built on such poor foundations.

I have control
12th Dec 2003, 11:07
I didn't see the program but from my reading of his excellent Pilcher biography and other published work I don't think Phillip Jarrett would disagree with anything the other Phillip has written.

12th Dec 2003, 16:31
I didn't see the programme, and misinterpreted your title line, wrongly assuming PJ had something to do with the programme. Should have known better. So, apologies, and you can put your pistols away, PW.

PPRuNe Pop
13th Dec 2003, 02:54
Just FIVE days to go and it's game set and match to the Wright's!

Not a good prog at all in my view.


15th Dec 2003, 06:30
Although I agree with the above posts, I do feel though that had Pilcher survived the intial test flights! his design would have evolved continually working on a trial and error basis.

The powerplant/prop issue would always have been dificult to solve, but the cut outs in the wing and the control issues would I believe have been resolved in the years that followed. After all it was only 1898.

I have control
15th Dec 2003, 08:36
Batchy, it was 1899. By this point Pilcher had been experimenting on and off for 5 years. The question of what Pilcher might have achieved is a matter of personal judgement, speculation based upon what we know of his previous performance. My judgement is that from 1894 to 1899 Pilcher made a modest contribution to aviation but demonstrated nothing to suggest he would be capable of the huge scientific and intellectual breakthroughs made by the Wright Brothers in the period 1899-1905.

I do believe there is something Darwinian about the Pilcher story. He did indeed work on a trial and error basis. In trying hard to succeed, he learned the hardest lesson of all.