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Gustave Whitehead: First in Flight breaking news

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Gustave Whitehead: First in Flight breaking news

Old 10th Jul 2015, 09:31
  #121 (permalink)  
 
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Reasoned Debate

Haraka, I've scanned the previous posts and agree that the debates here are, for the greater part, reasoned, energetic and on-point.

Yes, I am the Carroll F. Gray who writes articles on The Huffington Post, generally on topics of aeronautical history and in particular on the Whitehead Myth.

For several years I operated the AeroForum, until some evil-doers destroyed the database, so I appreciate this forum very much.

One point about Whitehead advocates that I frankly find amusing, is the notion that appears to be prevalent among Whitehead supporters that if Wilbur and Orville Wright can be denied the title of "First in Flight" then their fellow, old Gus Whitehead, will automatically be next in line for the honors.

What makes that leap funny is **if** we accept that Gus W. made short, powered, very low level hops of short distances in his uncontrolled No. 21 (which, by the way, he referred to many times as an "automobile"), then the earliest person to do what Gus W. supposedly did was Clement Ader on Oct. 6, 1890.

You could argue (and be right) that Ader's Eole was superior in many respects to No. 21, as it actually did have flight control mechanisms but they were ineffective due to the amount of time required to operate them, as well as some fundamental misunderstandings of what they would do.

Glad to be here.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 14:41
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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Carroll,
Thank you for continuing to contribute to the ongoing chat .
Am I right in thinking that it was your good self who demonstrated that the photograph of the alleged " Whitehead machine in flight" was in fact most likely ( i.e. almost certainly) to be of the Montgomery glider suspended?
This helped enormously in closing an interlude in which "Jane's" was seen to be supporting Whitehead's claims: frankly, embarrassing all round.
I think that anybody who follows this thread and follows up on the links and references submitted, gains an appreciation of all of the pioneers, not least the Wright brothers who made an enormous contribution at a critical time, enhanced by the arrival of the internal combustion engine. The varying perspectives on this period in aviation history go to support fruitful discussion, during which all of us can hopefully learn something and consider our opinions.
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Old 11th Jul 2015, 06:55
  #123 (permalink)  
 
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The Photo Matter...

Yes, I was the one who spotted what that blurry was almost certainly of, and where and when it was taken.

I've posted two articles about this...

GUSTAVE WHITEHEAD - What Did He Do ?

and

GUSTAVE WHITEHEAD - What Did He Do ?

The editor of Jane's was seriously mislead.

I agree that all those who busied themselves during the Pioneer and Exhibition Eras deserve our appreciation, even if for nothing more than their dedication to human flight. Many people devoted their lives to this puzzle, and that's certainly worthy of notice and remembrance, even if they didn't come up with a solution.

I suppose most people on this forum know that the owner and publisher of Jane's issued a statement in April 2015 putting the full responsibility for that March 2013 editorial supporting Whitehead on the shoulders of Jane's editor. You can read about that here...

<I>Jane's</I> Points Finger at Editor | Carroll F. Gray
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Old 14th Jul 2015, 17:42
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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A paper of interest, and written by an American!!!!!

http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol...ber_2014/2.pdf

Edited to add: this item may set off another round of discussion as to who did/didn't

http://aerosociety.com/Assets/Docs/P...y-Ackroyd2.pdf

Last edited by megan; 14th Jul 2015 at 17:57.
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 09:58
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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What was invented ?

Megan's first citation is an interesting paper, but it seems to me it misses a central fact of importance.

Wilbur and Orville Wright invented the aeroplane (I like to use period-appropriate terms) because they invented the means to control an aeroplane's flight... not because they invented the trussed biplane design, or curved lifting surfaces, or other elements of design.

Without the means to actively control the direction of an aeroplane's flight in the three directions (roll, pitch and yaw), the device, whatever its merits or abilities is not an aeroplane. At it's heart, it is an effective control system being operated in three directions while aloft that defines an aeroplane.

So, yes, the Wilbur and Orville Wright did invent the aeroplane, and their three-axis control system is what they patented.
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 11:55
  #126 (permalink)  
 
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To avoid referring back to #62

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.
However if you make up your own definitions.........
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 16:18
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Fine.

However, we now know that flight implies the need for an energy source. A gliding aeroplane eventually runs out of kinetic energy (airspeed) and potential energy (altitude) at about the same time. A really efficient glider (sailplane) can capture an updraft as an energy source, but that too runs out.

And so late 19th century experimenters worked on propulsive devices to provide the energy for sustained flight, and some impressive engines were developed. But it was the Wrights who added the missing link: an efficient PROPELLER. With it, they didn't need a large engine. Four cylinders, 12 horsepower, simple (even crude) construction. With their propeller design, it was enough to do the job .

Last edited by barit1; 15th Jul 2015 at 16:28.
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 19:46
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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Aeroplane

Not to be too picky, but the dictionary definitions of the words "aeroplane" and "airplane" are just that - definitions of the word. They describe the machine, not the functionality of the machine.

Without an effective three-axis control system, an aeroplane would not be functional.

I see the remarkably efficient Wright propeller as Wilbur and Orville Wrights' second great achievement. Their design came at a time when many people still wrongly thought of aerial propellers as essentially the same as a ship's propeller.
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 20:51
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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Without an effective three-axis control system, an aeroplane would not be functional
Would you care to elaborate?

Among many others I am thinking of Fokker, Mignet etc. etc. ,not forgetting Voisin of course, some of whom's products hold FAI ( which includes the USA of course) recognized aviation records ( including the closed kilometre ( i.e. turning in a fairly tight controlled circle speed record) .
Without the means to actively control the direction of an aeroplane's flight in the three directions (roll, pitch and yaw), the device, whatever its merits or abilities is not an aeroplane
According to your personal definition,as I understand it, so please correct me if I am wrong, we (including the FAI) have it all wrong and the Voisin types were not aeroplanes.
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 20:53
  #130 (permalink)  

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Would it not be right to say that the Wright's didn't invent the aeroplane, but that they were the first to fly one in a controlled and repeatable manner? That makes them first in my book.
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 23:12
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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Voisin, et al

As you probably know, the Voisin had a marginally effective three-axis control, skittering/sliding around turns, and could not make coordinated turns.

I admit the definition I use is not the usual one but it does highlight the difference between what Wilbur and Orville Wright managed to invent (an effective three-axis control system capable of coordinated turns) and what others were doing at the time.

I know most people might hear that and ask 'what's the difference?' - but it seems to me that being able to actively control the flight of an aerial machine to go where the operator/pilot wants to go is an essential for a proper aeroplane.

Notice I have not said others could not fly, and the Voisin is a good example of one that flew, but was not fully controllable so - in my view - it was not yet a fully developed aeroplane. The Farman, which derived a good bit of its design from the Voisin, was a fully realized aeroplane.

No one else needs to feel any pressure whatsoever to adopt the view I have, but it does have the merit of allowing people to better understand what Wilbur and Orville Wright accomplished.

Recall the reaction of European aviators when they witnessed Wilbur flying in 1908 - Louis Bleriot was quoted as saying something to the effect that "We are as children" when he saw how much control Wilbur had over his machine, and what it was capable of doing.

I do think it's correct to say that the Wrights (especially Wilbur on the last flight of 17 December 1903) were the first to make a controlled, sustained, powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine.

I think it's also correct to say that the Wrights invented the three-axis control system, which is the basis of very nearly all subsequent aeroplanes.

Admittedly, there were and are aeroplanes that did fly and could be maneuvered to some degree without fully-developed three-axis control, but if you're thinking about an aeroplane in flight as we now understand it, you're thinking of a three-axis control system as being an essential element of that aeroplane.
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Old 16th Jul 2015, 06:15
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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I totally agree that full three axis control is a considerable improvement over the "two axis and stability in the third" philosophy regarding precision of manoeuvre.
I think therefore it can be stated with some justification that the Wrights certainly taught the world to fly better.
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Old 16th Jul 2015, 09:36
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Just curious.

What/when was the first "aeroplane" flown that dispensed with wing-warping and used a wheeled undercarriage?

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Old 16th Jul 2015, 10:56
  #134 (permalink)  
 
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That's contentious Noyade ( of course! )
Santos -Dumont was flying his wheeled undercarriage 14-bis using ailerons, without ever utilising wing warping, in 1906. By flying unassisted off the ground in relatively still air and not using any external device such as a catapult, before accredited witnesses, under one interpretation of FAI rules this was arguably ( by some) also the first properly recognised manned aeroplane flight.
It all goes back to Carroll's point as to what are, albeit subjectively, considered essential characteristics to be a "proper" aeroplane ( and at what point in aviation history were those demonstrably fulfilled)
Carroll also stated that :
The Farman, which derived a good bit of its design from the Voisin, was a fully realized aeroplane
I see and respect where he is coming from, as it was an " aileronised Voisin" and I would suggest , more realistically perhaps fulfills your criteria. However the question of maneuverability versus natural stability as part of a "fully realised" aeroplane arises.
For that definition to apply , I think we have to look on a few years more and follow the evolution of the B.E.'s up to the B.E. 2c.
By many definitions this was arguably the first naturally stable, yet fully 3 axis controllable aeroplane in production.

Last edited by Haraka; 16th Jul 2015 at 17:52.
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Old 16th Jul 2015, 21:08
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Design intention has a role in this, also. Inherent instability was a design feature, an intentional design feature, of the 1903 Flyer.

... and, speaking of the B.E. 2c., let's remember what happened when inherent stability came head-to-head with maneuverability in the early part of The Great War.
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Old 17th Jul 2015, 09:07
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Thanks for your thoughts Haraka. The B.E 2C is an interesting choice.

Inherent instability was a design feature,
Carol - was there too much instability in the Wright's aircraft?


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Old 17th Jul 2015, 14:00
  #137 (permalink)  

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Carrollfgray

let's remember what happened when inherent stability came head-to-head with maneuverability in the early part of The Great War.
How very true.

Most aeronautical libraries have shelves of books titled "The stability and control of aircraft"

In my view they have all got it wrong. They should be called "The control and stability of aircraft" You can fly without stability (even if you don't like it too much) but you cannot fly without control.

JF

Last edited by John Farley; 17th Jul 2015 at 14:01. Reason: typo
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Old 17th Jul 2015, 15:00
  #138 (permalink)  
 
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You can fly without stability
Indeed you can, but is it a practicable state of affairs for an average pilot who, perhaps over an extended period of time, has to retain the spare capacity to operate the aeroplane as distinct from merely flying it?
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Old 17th Jul 2015, 15:30
  #139 (permalink)  

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Haraka

Agreed but I never said it was ideal or in what circumstances it was acceptable.

I will repeat one thing though and that is you cannot fly at all without control.

AvP 970 (as was in the 60s) which specified the flying qualities of UK military aircraft required them to be stable at all times in the circuit. I needed to certificate an aeroplane that was very unstable in pitch when in the circuit. This was achieved to the satifaction of all concerned by giving it very good control.

JF
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Old 17th Jul 2015, 17:27
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you cannot fly at all without control.
As a fun aside this reminds me of one of the early F-104 test pilots ( "Fish" Salmon IIRC) visiting U.K. and being in the company of Haraka Senior.
To keep the conversation going, the old man asked "Fish" ,out of interest , how many hours he had spent test flying the F-104 .
" Over 1000",
Senior quietly expressed his admiration for achieving 1000hr PI on test flying the beast.

"Oh," replied "Fish",

"I wouldn't claim by definition that they were all strictly "Pilot in Command"."
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