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rising or level flight. In the short indoor flights of record, take-off was from
a h orizontal wire somewhat higher than the landing point. Thus, these
flights were what may be called "powered glides." The powerplants used
a re of interest, however, because of their advanced design. Gibbs-Smith
a ttributes the powerplant design to Henson, stating that Stringfellow was r f I. -, i M ^MU^IJ Figure 3.—Stringfellow engine and boiler (NASM 1 889-1), 1868. (Photo A-20030) m ore the skilled mechanic than the inventor. The 20-ft.-span model built
by Henson but never flown was said to include a well-designed steam plant,
b ut details are difficult to find. Stringfellow's " flying" model was a 10-ft-span
m onoplane equipped with a double-acting steam engine of %x2-in. b ore
a nd stroke driving two m id w ing 16-in. p ropellers geared to turn at three
times engine speed. Its best powered glide was for about 120 ft indoors. A
Stringfellow engine and boiler of 1868, a m ultibulb affair, is now at the
N ational Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution (fig. 3)A dirigible airship with a 3-hp steam plant weighing 351 lb was flown
by Henri Giffard from Paris to Trappes in 1852 (fig. 4). I have not found a Figure 4.—Giffard a irship, steam-engine powered, 1852. (Photo A-19889) t echnical description of this single-cylinder vertical engine. In spite of
e arlier and later designs for steam-driven dirigible balloons, that of Giffard
seems to be the only one which made successful flights. Alexander F.
M ozhaiski in Russia in 1884 and Clement Ader in 1890 b oth built and
tested full-scale steam-powered airplanes. At most, these machines made
short uncontrolled "hops," although Ader's machine seems to have had
t he ability to lift itself without external assistance. No engine details seem
to be available. The "Chauve-Souris," Clement Ader's "Avion I I I " of
1897, on display at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris,
F rance, is equipped with two 20-hp steam engines.
T he best-known full-scale attempt at flight with steam was that of
Sir Hiram Maxim in 1894. Maxim was an experienced steam engineer,
a nd his powerplant was far more advanced than the aircraft to which it
was applied. Its two twin-cylinder compound engines (fig. 5) each drove a
p usher propeller. The powerplant was rated at 363 hp and weighed
c omplete, 1,800 lb, or 5 l b/hp, a n extraordinarily light weight for its d ay'
T he boiler, (fig. 6) was of the multiple water-tube type, very much like !«tfSki U F igure 5 .—Sir H i r a m Maxim with his twin-cylinder c o m p o u n d steam engine, 1894. (Photo A-42378) F igure 6 .—Maxim's s team boiler, feed-water heater, and burner, 1894. (From Journal of the Society
of the Arts ( 30 November 1894), v o l . 4 3 , p. 22.) m odern marine steam boilers. Operation along rails indicated that this
e ngine could furnish t he power necessary t o lift even t he m onstrous contraption in w hich it was i nstalled....
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This document was uploaded on 01/19/2014.
- Winter '14
- The Land