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Gustave Whitehead: First in Flight breaking news

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Gustave Whitehead: First in Flight breaking news

Old 19th Jun 2015, 13:32
  #61 (permalink)  
 
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the wrights invented the airplane.
Well, if you play on words and claim a glider not to be an airplane...
Who invents something? The first who makes a sketch and some calculations? The first who actually builds it? Or the first who actually uses it? In the latter case, the Wrights probably invented the airplane.

There is nothing technical on the wright plane which was not already invented, discussed and published before. But what makes the difference: the Wrights actually flew it! And that earns them their place in history.
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 14:14
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Indeed "Volume", by strict definition a glider is not an aeroplane ( neither is a helicopter)- but it is an aircraft nevertheless.

The New Oxford Dictionary definition of an aeroplane is given as:
"a powered flying machine with fixed wings and a weight greater than the air it displaces"
ORIGIN: late 19th cent from French aéroplane from aéro 'air' +Greek planos 'wandering".

By this definition, which is one I was taught, then such a device was not invented by the Wrights.

What the Wrights did certainly achieve was to demonstrate three axis control in manned flight and arguably should be accordingly so honoured for their contribution toward the ever ongoing evolution of the aeroplane.

The same dictionary terms airplane as " North American term for AEROPLANE"

In my copy of the " Jane's Aerospace Dictionary" the following is stated:

aeroplane(US=airplane) BS 185,1940; " a flying machine with plane(s) fixed in flight"
Modern definition might be "mechanically propelled aerodyne sustained by wings which, in any one flight regime, remain fixed".
Bill Gunston's definition - not mine.

Note that such generally accepted definitions of an aeroplane, or "airplane", do not of course depend upon such a craft of necessity having an on-board pilot or obeying three axis control. Thus Stringfellow in 1848 had achieved powered flight with his aeroplane, as had many others around the world before 1900.

P.S. As a cross-check, I looked up Mirriam-Webster and other American based dictionary definitions of airplane on line. They all pretty much state verbatim the references quoted above.

Last edited by Haraka; 19th Jun 2015 at 17:52.
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 15:07
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I completely agree with Haraka and the reputable sources he quotes.
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 15:34
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Sir George Cayley was writing about and experimenting with aeroplanes (and using the word) before the Wright Brothers even commenced experimenting. Wilbur Wright had the following to say of him, "About 100 years ago, an Englishman, Sir George Cayley, carried the science of flight to a point which it had never reached before and which it scarcely reached again during the last century."
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 19:35
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yes megan, we understand that

I have been experimenting and writing about faster than light drive for a spaceship

BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN I HAVE INVENTED AN INTERSTELLAR CONVEYANCE.


The Wrights invented the airplane, get over it.

And if you invent a faster than light drive and build a spaceship and fly to Tau Ceti, I WILL NOT CLAIM I INVENTED IT even though I wrote about it and experimented with it.


Sheesh!
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 03:44
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The Wrights invented the airplane, get over it
The Wrights didn't invent the airplane, get over it. They improved on what had been developed prior and were the first to achieve the ultimate success. In fact, there are those who credit Sir George Cayley with inventing the aeroplane, but not a claim I would make. Claims are made that Whittle invented the jet engine, yet a patent was filed as far back as 1791 for a gas turbine, and Ægidius Elling filed a patent in 1884, and went on to build and run the first operating gas turbine in 1903. Whittle, once again, didn't invent the jet engine, but built upon what had gone before. Metallurgy was a problem preventing many of the early experimenters progressing their ideas, in the case of aircraft a suitable power source. It took the development of the internal combustion engine before powered flight was a possibility. Once again, as Newton said, "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." The Wrights and Whittle were standing on the shoulders of those who had gone before and laid the ground work.
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 03:49
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you still don't get it. the engine wasn't the thing. the ability to control the wing was the thing. there had been engines before the wright brothers started their work but there were no airplanes.

and that standing on the shoulders of giants line is really pretty boring.


and so are you

oh and for added interest the FAI wasn't organized until 1905...some 18 months after the wright brothers first flight, powered, controlled , resistance if futile!

Last edited by skyhighfallguy; 20th Jun 2015 at 04:38.
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 07:24
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Well, there is one question you need to answer if you persist in the Wrights invented the aeroplane argument, and that is, why didn't they patent inventing the airplane?

Patent - a grant made to an inventor assuring him the sole right to make, use, and sell his invention for a certain period of time
Invent - to conceive or devise something previously unknown

They couldn't patent the airplane because it was pre-existing. They patented those items they could, that being the means of control.
oh and for added interest the FAI wasn't organized until 1905
Tell me something I don't know. I posted that little fact back on page one (post #18).

Awaiting an answer as to why they didn't patent the aeroplane. resistance if futile! (am I presumptuous in assuming you meant "is futile"?)
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 08:20
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A Patent is NOT PROOF that the invention is new!

It just indicates that the Patent Office's searches have not found any evidence of the invention having existed previously, and therefore (according to them) it is "Novel".

Many Patents have been challenged in Court.

At the time of the Wright Brothers the US Patent Office had far lower standards than many European Patent Offices, did not search foreign Patent records and technical publications (as held in the Royal Aeronautical Society), and granted thousands of Patents for inventions which already existed, or were "Trivial" or "Obvious".

I hold UK and US Patents and am familiar with the process and history of Patents.
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 08:44
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Joy ride,
IIRC did not proper patent searches regarding one of more of the Wrights "new and useful improvements" reveal that they infringed patents previously lodged by others in Europe ?
I am thinking in particular of wing warping/ aileron devices designed and constructed (going back to around 1860 or so).

Aileron of course being a word of French origin......
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 09:33
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I do not know anything specific about the technical details in the Wrights' Patents, but I do know for sure that boat, pump and mill sails were all "Known", and so too were the cables, ropes and pulleys and bell-cranks often used to shape and control them. Propellers were also "Known" and used long before 1903 (on boats, on some balloons and on Stringfellow's model aeroplane).

I am not a Patent Lawyer, and guessing what a Patent Office might have decided in the Wright Brother's era is unclear, but I think it is reasonable to say that the UK Patent Office would probably have found plenty of "Prior Art" in their searches.

This would have been shown to the Wrights and/or their Patent Agent(s) seeking their comments. I consider that ALL the mechanisms used by the Wrights were "Known" and "Obvious" and also identical in their function to the muscles and tendons acting on the bones of animal wings.

Therefore I doubt the Wrights's mechanisms could have been patented in UK unless the Wrights were able to demonstrate that their use for an aeroplane was entirely new.
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 21:25
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"Prior art" was of course the cause that Curtis sought to provide evidence to invalidate the Wrights' case against him. Thus the remains of the late Langley's "Aerodrome' ( Langley being a past secretary of the Smithsonian) were acquired for restoration to flight. This machine duly flew off the river at Hammonsdport ( Lake Keuka) in 1914 thus supporting the fatuous claim that Langley " had succeeded in building the first aeroplane capable of sustaining free flight with a man."
Thus the aircraft was disingenuously displayed in the Smithsonian proclaiming it "the first-man carrying aeroplane in the history of the world capable of sustaining free flight"
Unfortunately for this august institution, photographic evidence proved that the aircraft had been modified enormously for flight ,then surreptitiously back converted to its original 1903 configuration prior to display. All this was revealed in a paper delivered to the Royal Aeronautical Society in London in October 1921. Thus the Smithsonian's associates had been caught out "fiddling with aviation history".
As a consequence the Wrights loaned the alleged 1903 " Flyer" ( it is largely a hybrid of later machines) to the U.K. Science Museum in London. By 1942 , after negotiation, the Smithsonian bargained back the Flyer from the Wrights' estate post WW2 , but subject to such terms that its hands were effectively tied to supporting the somewhat extravagant claims tied to holding the machine, which returned to the USA at the end of 1948. This unholy covenant was uncovered by the publication of "History By Contract" by Major William J. O'Dwyer,USAFR. in 1978. Among many other stipulations revealed regarding its presence is that the Smithsonian is not permitted to "recognise that any other aeroplane was capable of powered,sustained and controlled flight carrying a man before 17th December 1903."
This stipulation is also extended to:
"any other agency bureau or facilities, administered for the United States of America by the Smithsonian Institution or it's successors shall publish or permit to be displayed a statement or label in connection with or in respect of any aircraft model or design of earlier date that the Wright aeroplane of 1903 , claiming in effect that such aircraft was capable of carrying a man under it's own power in controlled flight."
This revelation of a blatant attempt at dictating nationally terms of Aviation History, by suppressing any alternative view whatsoever is exactly what is, arguably justifiably, been supporting some of the grievances of the Whitehead fraternity .
This situation was , I think, originally the motivation of this thread ,before being hijacked along the road by some silly and irrelevant flights of fantasy.
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 22:57
  #73 (permalink)  
 
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there is more to the history of the wrights, but suffice to say, if the smithsonian didn't want to display the wright machine, they didn't have to.

I imagine there would be hundreds of places willing to honor the wrights.

so many people belittled the wrights including, but not limited to, the entire french press, and langley. Alexander graham bell was no saint either and curtiss was a scoundrel . the french newspapers were happy to call the wrights BLUFFERS (bloufers) until they witnessed for themselves the absolute control of their airplane near le mans and reims. They bent over backward to celebrate them .

so, why shouldn't the wrights want it right? even the US govt insisted a method of paying royalties to the wrights be expedited to allow rapid expansion of aviation esp during WW1.


https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Inve...vs._innovation

interesting article about inventions and that US patents are all considered inventions.

yup...for all practical purposes, this should close the discussion, in very much the favor of the Wrights.
I've taken a keen interest in the wrights and really can't stand so many naysayers and history rewriters. The first passenger casualty, Lt Selfridge , lost during an Orville Wright flight graduated from the same high school I did.

Last edited by skyhighfallguy; 21st Jun 2015 at 00:17.
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 01:38
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even the US govt insisted a method of paying royalties to the wrights be expedited to allow rapid expansion of aviation esp during WW1.
Which included Curtiss and other patent holders...

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Old 21st Jun 2015, 06:36
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This is the particular Wright patent we are concerned with. The preamble (bolding mine),

Be it known that we, ORVILLE WRIGHT and WILBUR WRIGHT, citizens of the United States, residing in the city of Dayton, county of Montgomery, and State of Ohio, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Flying-Machines, of which the following is a specification. Our invention relates to that class of flying machines in which the weight is sustained by the reactions resulting when one or more aeroplanes are moved through the air edgewise at a small angle of incidence, either by the application of mechanical power or by the utilization of the force of gravity. The objects of our invention are to provide means for maintaining or restoring the equilibrium or lateral balance of the apparatus, to provide means for guiding the machine both vertically and horizontally, and to provide a structure combining lightness, strength, convenience of construction, and certain other advantages which will hereinafter appear.
The entire patent is at

Patent No. 821,343

Please point out to me where I err, but I don't see them as claiming to have invented the airplane. But then again, I'm not a patent lawyer. I note the patent is titled "Flying Machine", but the preamble cites "new and useful Improvements in Flying-Machines", not the invention of flying machines. To sum up, as I see it, they are claiming means of control and particular elements of construction.
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 07:13
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Our invention relates to that class of flying machines in which the weight is sustained by the reactions resulting when one or more aeroplanes are moved through the air edgewise at a small angle of incidence, either by the application of mechanical power or by the utilization of the force of gravity.
Indeed megan and also covering improvements to sailplanes (gliders) as well as aeroplanes.

It is aimed across two classes of aerodyne and certainly not a claim for the
invention of one.
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 08:12
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Skyhighfallguy: "I've taken a keen interest in the wrights and really can't stand so many naysayers and history rewriters"

No offence, but the real problem is that you display great ignorance of history outside America, and from before 1903.

You have clearly chosen NOT to read the links which I and others have posted which clearly detail the aeroplane's substantial history and development BEFORE the Wrights.

You have claimed that the Wrights INVENTED the aeroplane and that all its major developments of it were American.

All of us that have tried to enlighten you are now described as naysayers and history re-writers. I am NOT a Nay-sayer of the Wrights, I just want it known that there were many other important people and candidates, and this glorification of the Wrights beyond all others is selective and bad history.

It is YOU who says nay, nay to all non-American, pre 1903 history, and YOU who denies previous history, not us re-writing it !

This forum has members from all over the world and I enjoy the full range of information and discussion this provides. I believe that PPRuNe originated in UK/Europe. I consider the Wrights to be very important figures, but consider it disrespectful and historically wrong that you dismiss all non-American Aviation developments as insignificant

DISCUSSION OVER !!!!

Last edited by joy ride; 21st Jun 2015 at 08:52.
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 10:11
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Joy ride
Sadly, it never was a discussion in this particular case.
Unfortunately it is pointless to continue engaging with some individuals by offering a structured position based upon reasonably established and accepted information, once it is apparent that their approach is seemingly based upon the strident repetition of an act of faith, despite its being overwhelmingly evidenced as demonstrably untenable.

Last edited by Haraka; 21st Jun 2015 at 11:05.
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 15:12
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previous HISTORY of aeronautical developments did not accomplish what the wrights did accomplish.

it was the WRIGHTS who figured out how to control a plane and it is still the accepted way of controlling planes today.

when the wrights flew in france, the french admitted they were the masters of the air by the way they could control their plane.



Making drawings, thinking out loud, writing ideas DID NOT INVENT THE PLANE. The wrights even proved that lillienthal's calculations were wrong.

The Wrights got it Right, everyone else is an also ran.
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 17:53
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it was the WRIGHTS who figured out how to control a plane and it is still the accepted way of controlling planes today.
Sorry to disabuse you of that thought, MPW Boulton in patenting the aileron in 1868 (Wilbur was 1 yo, and Orville wasn't even a gleam in daddys eye) clearly understood what was requred. Some bloke called Manly said of this in 1916;

the system of lateral balancing or control now so universally used; [is] that of supplementary planes, now called ailerons. The description he gave of these in his British patent was thorough and clear. It is the first record we have of appreciation of the necessity for active lateral control as distinguished from the passive lateral equilibrium secured by having wings set at a dihedral angle. With this invention of Boulton's we have the birth of the present-day three torque method of airborne control. The only thing then lacking [in 1868] to enable man to learn to operate flying machines was the one great organ – a suitable engine
Of course this may not accord with your world view, but be honest; wing warping really was a dead end.

The Wright boys put together the first practical, controllable, powered aircraft, but they did so on the back of work done by many others, and essentially on having a sufficiently lightweight engine.
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