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Unformatted text preview: by a low-tension m agneto with k 'make-and-break" s park contacts in the
c ylinders. The engine would give 16 hp for a minute or so, after which it
g ave a steady 12 hp. Control, such as it was, was by the spark timing.
As shown in table 1, this engine was heavy and of low power compared
t o the contemporary Langley engine, but it flew! This basic design
was later improved by the Wrights so that by 1910 i t was delivering 30 hp
for a weight of 180 lb, or 6 lb/hp.
T he first and subsequent engines followed contemporary automobile
p ractice in cylinder a rrangement; h owever, crankcases were of cast aluminum, and the first engine had an en-bloc cast-aluminum water jacket.
T hese, in use for aircraft engines from the beginning, have just recently
c ome into use for some automobiles. After being in England for a number of
y ears, t he first Wright engine, with some alterations made subsequent to
t he 1903 flight, is now on display in the original airplane in the National
Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Figure 12.—Wright b rothers' mechanic Charles E. Taylor (left), who helped to build Wright 1903
engine, with a later model Wright brothers' engine. (From Airway Age, v ol. 9, no. 12 (December
1 928), p. 38) 13 Figure 13.—Langley AerodromeA,engine (NASM 1 918-1), 1903, in test s tand; 52 h p at 9 50 r pm,
135 lb. A description of this engine appears in "Langley's Aero E'rjgiine of 1 903," by R. B. Meyer
(Smithsonian Annals of Flight, no. 6, 1971). (Photo A-15864) I t was my good fortune to know Orville Wright, and to see him
frequently during the period from 1919 to 1923 when I was engineer-incharge of the aircraft-engine laboratory of the U.S. Army Air Service in
D ayton, Ohio. He had previously retired from active participation in
a eronautics, and had become a very modest, very quiet, much beloved
m ember of the Dayton community, and of the famous Dayton Engineers
14 Langley Engines, 1900-1903
C onsidering the state of the art at the turn of the century, the 52-hp 5cylinder water-cooled radial engine Langley used in his Aerodrome represents one of the most remarkable pieces of engine design and construction
T he history of this engine is interesting. In 1898 Samuel P. Langley,
t hen Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, had accepted a contract to
d evelop a flying machine for the United States Government, and on
J une first of that year hired Charles M. Manly, a young graduate of Cornell
U niversity, as his assistant to supervise the design and construction of his
A erodrome. On 12 December, Langley contracted with a New York City
a utomobile builder, Stephen M. Balzer, for a 12-hp e ngine to be completed
in three months. Considering that even now, the development of a reliable
gasoline engine is a matter of at least two years, this contract must stand
as one of the most optimistic on r ecord! L ater, he contracted with Balzer
for a 1 /'i-hp e ngine to power a /1-size m odel Aerodrome.
N either engine had been delivered by 1900, and the slow progress
led Langley and Manly to spend three months in Europe seeking even the...
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This document was uploaded on 01/19/2014.
- Winter '14
- The Land