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Unformatted text preview: monoplane (fig. 2). This system of propulsion remains to this
d ay the most important source of power for small airplane and helicopter
m odels, and even today probably powers many more " airplanes" t han
a ny other type of powerplant. It is of historical interest to note that in the
first detailed account of their pioneer flights the Wright Brothers attribute
their early interest in flying to toy helicopters powered by rubber bands.
MAN'S MUSCLES, USUALLY ATTACHED TO FLAPPING WINGS, T he first successful flight by a model airplane powered by means other
t han rubber bands is said to be that of Felix DuTemple in France, 1857—
N O T E : All footnotes are to be found on pages 91-92. 1 1858, using a clockwork motor. Steam power was later used by this same
i nventor, but there is no authentic record of successful flight. A compressed-air-driven model by Victor Tatin (France) made circular tethered
flights in 1879.
O dd sources of power that have been proposed included tethered
g ryphons (birds were evidently considered inadequate), sails, and horses
on a treadmill (obviously at least 1,000 pounds per horsepower). Some of
these sources were even tried. The prize for ingenuity in the unconventional
c ategory might go to Portuguese reports, published about the year 1700,
w hich described an aircraft sustained by magnets acting on electrified
a mber and propelled by a hand-power bellows blowing on its sails. Sir
G eorge Cayley built and tested a gunpowder engine in 1807, a nd in 1850
designed a model airplane powered by this means, but it was never built.
A m odel ornithopter with wings operated by gunpowder, built by Trouve,
is said to have risen from the ground in 1870.
T here are records of two flights of dirigible airships using electric
m otors with batteries, namely, that of Tissandier at Auteuil in October
1883, a nd that of Charles Renard and Arthur K rebs n ear Paris in August
1884. T he latter machine was considered quite successful.
R ocket power, inspired by the Chinese invention of the ballistic rocket
in the 12th century, was suggested by Gerard in 1784. A n English cartoon
of 1825 shows a proposed rocket, propelled by a steerable steam jet, in
flight to the moon. For man-carrying powered flight, the first use of rockets
was by Fritz von Opel (Germany) in 1928. The first jet-engined flight
was that of the H einkel-178 a irplane in Germany, 27 August 1939, powered
w ith the HeS-3B gas turbine engine of 1,100-lb t hrust, developed by
P abst von Ohain.
S team power became a popular proposal for aerial navigation in the
e arly 19th century, soon after it had been successfully demonstrated in
ships, locomotives, and road vehicles. A model helicopter by W. H. Phillips
( England) rose from the ground under steam power in 1842. Steam jets
located in the wing tips were a remarkable anticipation of a modern application of jet power.
C ontrary to most historical statements, the steam-driven airplane models
of Henson and Stringfellow were apparently not capable of sustaine...
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This document was uploaded on 01/19/2014.
- Winter '14
- The Land