MONOPLANES, TRIPLANES, MULTIPLANES.
From: Flying Machines Construction Operation
Until recently, American aviators had not given serious
attention to any form of flying machines aside from biplanes.
Of the twenty-one monoplanes competing at the International
meet at Belmont Park, N. Y., in November, 1910, only three
makes were handled by Americans. Moissant and Drexel
navigated Bleriot machines, Harkness an Antoinette, and
Glenn Curtiss a single decker of his own construction. On
the other hand the various foreign aviators who took part in
the meet unhesitatingly gave preference to monoplanes.
Whatever may have been the cause of this seeming prejudice
against the monoplane on the part of American air sailors,
it is slowly being overcome. When a man like Curtiss, who
has attained great success with biplanes, gives serious attention
to the monoplane form of construction and goes so far as
to build and successfully operate a single surface machine,
it may be taken for granted that the monoplane is a fixture in
Dimensions of Monoplanes.
The makes, dimensions and equipment of the various monoplanes
used at Belmont Park are as follows:
Bleriot--(Moissant, operator)--plane length 23 feet, extreme
breadth 28 feet, surface area 160 square feet, 7-cylinder, 50 h.
Gnome engine, Chauviere propeller, 7 feet 6 inches diameter,
1,200 r. p. m.
Bleriot--(Drexel, operator)--exactly the same as Moissant's
Antoinette--(Harkness, operator)--plane length 42 feet,
extreme breadth 46 feet, surface area 377 square feet, Emerson
6-cylinder, 50 h. p. motor, Antoinette propeller, 7 feet 6 inches
diameter, 1,200 r. p. m.
Curtiss--(Glenn H. Curtiss, operator)--plane length 25 feet,
extreme breadth 26 feet, surface area 130 square feet, Curtiss
8-cylinder, 60 h. p. motor, Paragon propeller, 7 feet in
diameter, 1,200 r. p. m.
With one exception Curtiss had the smallest machine of
any of those entering into competition. The smallest was La
Demoiselle, made by Santos-Dumont, the proportions of which
were: plane length 20 feet, extreme breadth 18 feet, surface
area 100 square feet, Clement-Bayard 2-cylinder, 30 h. p. motor,
Chauviere propeller, 6 feet 6 inches in diameter, 1,100 r. p. m.
Winnings Made with Monoplanes.
Operators of monoplanes won a fair share of the cash prizes.
They won $30,283 out of a total of $63,250, to say nothing about
Grahame-White's winnings. The latter won $13,600, but part
of his winning flights were made in a Bleriot monoplane, and
part in a Farman machine. Aside from Grahame-White the
winnings were divided as follows: Moissant (Bleriot) $13,350;
Latham (Antoinette) $8,183; Aubrun (Bleriot) $2,400;
De Lesseps (Bleriot) $2,300; Drexel (Bleriot) $1,700; Radley
(Bleriot) $1,300; Simon (Bleriot) $750; Andemars (Clement-
Bayard) $100; Barrier (Bleriot) $100.
Out of a total of $30,283, operators of Bleriot machines won
$21,900, again omitting Grahame-White's share. If the winnings
with monoplane and biplane could be divided so as to
show the amount won with each type of machine the credit
side of the Bleriot account would be materially enlarged.
The Most Popular Monoplanes.
While the number of successful monoplanes is increasing
rapidly, and there is some feature of advantage in nearly all
the new makes, interest centers chiefly in the Santos-Dumont,
Antoinette and Bleriot machines. This is because more has
been accomplished with them than with any of the others,
possibly because they have had greater opportunities.
For the guidance of those who may wish to build a machine
of the monoplane type after the Santos-Dumont or Bleriot
models, the following details will be found useful.
Santos-Dumont--The latest production of this maker is
called the "No. 20 Baby." It is of 18 feet spread, and 20 feet
over all in depth. It stands 4 feet 2 inches in height, not
counting the propeller. When this latter is in a vertical
the extreme height of the machine is 7 feet 5 inches. It
is strictly a one-man apparatus. The total surface area is 115
square feet. The total weight of the monoplane with engine
and propeller is 352 pounds. Santos-Dumont weighs 110
pounds, so the entire weight carried while in flight is 462
pounds, or about 3.6 pounds per square foot of surface.
Bamboo is used in the construction of the body frame, and
also for the frame of the tail. The body frame consists of
three bamboo poles about 2 inches in diameter at the forward
end and tapering to about 1 inch at the rear. These poles are
jointed with brass sockets near the rear of the main plane so
they may be taken apart easily for convenience in housing or
transportation. The main plane is built upon four transverse
spars of ash, set at a slight dihedral angle, two being placed on
each side of the central bamboo. These spars are about 2 inches
wide by 1 1/8-inch deep for a few feet each side of the center of
the machine, and from there taper down to an inch in depth
at the center bamboo, and at their outer ends, but the width
remains the same throughout their entire length. The planes
are double surfaced with silk and laced above and below the
bamboo ribs which run fore and aft under the main spars and
terminate in a forked clip through which a wire is strung for
lacing on the silk. The tail consists of a horizontal and
surface placed on a universal joint about 10 feet back of
the rear edge of the main plane. Both of these surfaces are
flat and consist of a silk covering stretched upon bamboo ribs.
The horizontal surface is 6 feet 5 inches across, and 4 feet 9
inches from front to back. The vertical surface is of the same
width (6 feet 5 inches) but is only 3 feet 7 inches from front
to back. All the details of construction are shown in the
Power is furnished by a very light (110 pounds) Darracq
motor, of the double-opposed-cylinder type. It has a bore of
4.118 inches, and stroke of 4.724 inches, runs at 1,800 r. p. m.,
and with a 6 1/2-foot propeller develops a thrust of 242 1/2
when the monoplane is held steady.
Bleriot--No. XI, the latest of the Bleriot productions, and
the greatest record maker of the lot, is 28 feet in spread of
plane, and depth of 6 feet in largest part. This would give a
main surface of 168 square feet, but as the ends of the plane
are sharply tapered from the rear, the actual surface is reduced
to 150 square feet. Projecting from the main frame is an
elongated tail (shown in the illustration) which carries the
horizontal and vertical rudders. The former is made in three
sections. The center piece is 6 feet 1 inch in spread, and 2 feet
10 inches in depth, containing 17 square feet of surface. The
end sections, which are made movable for warping purposes,
are each 2 feet 10 inches square, the combined surface area in
the entire horizontal rudder being 33 square feet. The vertical
rudder contains 4 1/2 square feet of surface, making the entire
supporting area 187 1/2 square feet.
From the outer end of the propeller shaft in front to the extreme
rear edge of the vertical rudder, the machine is 25 feet
deep. Deducting the 6-foot depth of the main plane leaves 19
feet as the length of the rudder beam and rudders. The motor
equipment consists of a 3-cylinder, air-cooled engine of about
30 h. p. placed at the front end of the body frame, and carrying
on its crankshaft a two-bladed propeller 6 feet 8 inches in
diameter. The engine speed is about 1,250 r. p. m. at which
the propeller develops a thrust of over 200 pounds.
The Bleriot XI complete weighs 484 pounds, and with
operator and fuel supply ready for a 25- or 30-mile flight, 715
pounds. One peculiarity of the Bleriot construction is that,
while the ribs of the main plane are curved, there is no
bending of the pieces as in other forms of construction.
Bleriot has his rib pieces cut a little longer than required
and, by springing them into place, secures the necessary
curvature. A good view of the Bleriot plane framework is
given on page 63.
Combined Triplane and Biplane.
At Norwich, Conn., the Stebbins-Geynet Co., after several
years of experiment, has begun the manufacture of a combination
triplane and biplane machine. The center plane, which is
located about midway between the upper and lower surfaces,
is made removable. The change from triplane to biplane, or
vice versa, may be readily made in a few minutes. The
claim for this type of air craft a large supporting
surface area with the minimum of dimensions in planes. Although
this machine has only 24-foot spread and is only 26
feet over all, its total amount of supporting area is 400 square
feet; weight, 600 pounds in flying order, and lifting capacity
approximately 700 pounds more.
The frame is made entirely of a selected grade of Oregon
spruce, finished down to a smooth surface and varnished. All
struts are fish-shaped and set in aluminum sockets, which are
bolted to top and lower beams with special strong bolts of
small diameter. The middle plane is set inside the six uprights
and held in place by aluminum castings. A flexible twisted
seven-strand wire cable and Stebbins-Geynet turnbuckles are
used for trussing.
The top plane is in three sections, laced together. It has a
24-foot spread and is 7 feet in depth. The middle plane is in
two sections each of 7 1/2 feet spread and 6 feet in depth. The
center ends of the middle plane sections do not come within
5 feet of joining, this open space being left for the engine.
The bottom plane is of 16 feet spread and 5 feet in depth. It
will thus be seen that the planes overhang one another in depth,
the bottom one being the smallest in this respect. The planes
are set at an angle of 9 degrees, and there is a clear space of 3
1/2 feet between each, making the total distance from the bottom
to the top plane a trifle over 7 feet. The total supporting
surface in the main planes is 350 square feet. By arranging the
three plane surfaces at an angle as described and varying their
size, the greatest amount of lifting area is secured above the
center of gravity, and the greatest weight carried below.
The ribs are made of laminated spruce, finished down to
1/2x3/4-inch cross section dimensions, with a curvature of about
1 in 20, and fastened to the beams with special aluminum
Number 2 Naiad aeroplane cloth is used in covering the
planes, with pockets sewn in for the ribs.
Two combination elevating rudders are set up well in front,
each having 18 square feet of supporting area. These rudders
are arranged to work in unison, independently, or in opposite
directions. In the Model B machine, there are also two small
rear elevating rudders, which work in unison with the front
rudders. One vertical rudder of 10 square feet is suspended
in the rear of a small stationary horizontal plane in Model A,
while the vertical rudder on Model B is only 6 square feet in
size. The elevating rudders are arranged so as to act as
planes when the machine is in flight. The wing tips are
held in place with a special two-piece casting which forms a
hinge, and makes a quick detachable joint. Wing tips are also
used in balancing.
Model A is equipped with a Cameron 25-30 h. p., 4-cylinder,
air-cooled motor. On Model B a Holmes rotary 7-cylinder
motor of 4x4-inch bore and stroke is used.
Positive control is secured by use of the Stebbins-Geynet
"auto-control" system. A pull or push movement operates the
elevating rudders, while the balancing is done by means of
side movements or slight turns. The rear vertical rudder is
manipulated by means of a foot lever.
New Cody Biplane.
Among the comparatively new biplanes is one constructed by
Willard F. Cody, of London, Eng., the principal distinctive
feature of which is an automaticcontrol which works independently
of the hand levers. For the other control a long lever
carrying a steering wheel furnishes all the necessary control
movements, there being no footwork at all. The lever is
universally jointed and when moved fore and aft operates the
two ailerons as if they were one; when the shaft is rotated it
moves the tail as a whole. The horizontal tail component is
immovable. When the lever is moved from side to side it works
not only the ailerons and the independent elevators, but also
through a peculiar arrangement, the vertical rear rudder as well.
The spread of the planes is 46 feet 6 inches and the width 6
feet 6 inches. The ailerons jut out 1 foot 6 inches on each
side of the machine and are 13 feet 6 inches long. The cross-
shaped tail is supported by an outrigger composed of two long
bamboos and of this the vertical plane is 9 feet by 4 feet, while
the horizontal plane is 8 feet by 4 feet. The over-all length
of the machine is 36 feet. The lifting surface is 857 square
feet. It will weigh, with a pilot, 1,450 pounds. The distance
between the main planes is 8 feet 6 inches, which is a rather
notable feature in this flyer.
The propeller has a diameter of 11 feet and 2 inches with a
13-foot 6-inch pitch; it is driven at 560 revolutions by a chain,
and the gear reduction between the chain and propeller shaft
is two to one.
The machine from elevator to tail plane bristles in original
points. The hump in the ribs has been cut away entirely, so
that although the plane is double surfaced, the surfaces are
closest together at a point which approximates the center of
pressure. The plane is practically of two stream-line forms,
of which one is the continuation of the other. This construction,
claims the inventor, will give increased lift, and decreased
head resistance. The trials substantiate this, as the angle of
incidence in flying is only about one in twenty-six.
The ribs in the main planes are made of strips of silver spruce
one-half by one-half inch, while those in the ailerons are solid
and one-fourth inch thick. In the main planes the fabric is
held down with thin wooden fillets. Cody's planes are noted
for their neatness, rigidity and smoothness. Pegamoid fabric
is used throughout.
Pressey Automatic Control.
Another ingenious system of automatic control has been
perfected by Dr. J. B. Pressey, of Newport News, Va. The
aeroplane is equipped with a manually operated, vertical rudder,
(3), at the stern, and a horizontal, manually operated,
front control, (4), in front. At the ends of the main plane, and
about midway between the upper and lower sections thereof,
there are supplemental planes, (5).
In connection with these supplemental planes (5), there is
employed a gravity influenced weight, the aviator in his seat,
for holding them in a horizontal, or substantially horizontal,
position when the main plane is traveling on an even keel; and
for causing them to tip when the main plane dips laterally, to
port or starboard, the planes (5) having a lifting effect upon
depressed end of the main plane, and a depressing effect upon
the lifted end of the main plane, so as to correct such lateral
of the main plane, and restore it to an even keel. To the
upper edge of planes (5) connection is made by means
of rod (13) to one arm of a bellcrank lever, (14) the latter
pivotally mounted upon a fore and aft pin (15), supported from
the main plane; and the other arms of the port and starboard
bellcrank levers (16), are connected by rod (17), which has an
eye (18), for receiving the segmental rod (19), secured to and
projecting from cross bar on seat supporting yoke (7). When,
therefore, the main plane tips downwardly on the starboard
side, the rod (17) will be moved bodily to starboard, and the
starboard balancing plane (5) will be inclined so as to raise its
forward edge and depress its rear edge, while, at the same time,
the port balancing plane (5), will be inclined so as to depress
its forward edge, and raise its rear edge, thereby causing the
starboard balancing plane to exert a lifting effect, and the port
balancing plane to exert a depressing effect upon the main
plane, with the result of restoring the main plane to an even
keel, at which time the balancing planes (5), will have resumed
their normal, horizontal position.
When the main plane dips downwardly on the port side, a
reverse action takes place, with the like result of restoring the
main plane to an even keel. In order to correct forward and
aft dip of the main plane, fore and aft balancing planes (20)
and (23) are provided. These planes are carried by transverse
rock shafts, which may be pivotally mounted in any suitable
way, upon structures carried by main plane. In the present
instance, the forward balancing plane is pivotally mounted in
extensions (21) of the frame (22) which carries the forward,
manually operated, horizontal ascending and descending plane
It is absolutely necessary, in making a turn with an aeroplane,
if that turn is to be made in safety, that the main plane shall
be inclined, or "banked," to a degree proportional to the
of the curve and to the speed of the aeroplane. Each different
curve, at the same speed, demands a different inclination, as is
also demanded by each variation in speed in rounding like
curves. This invention gives the desired result with absolute
The Sellers' Multiplane.
Another innovation is a multiplane, or four-surfaced machine,
built and operated by M. B. Sellers, formerly of Grahn, Ky.,
but now located at Norwood, Ga. Aside from the use of four
sustaining surfaces, the novelty in the Sellers machine lies in
the fact that it is operated successfully with an 8 h. p. motor,
which is the smallest yet used in actual flight. In describing
his work, Mr. Sellers says his purpose has been to develop the
efficiency of the surfaces to a point where flight may be
with the minimum of power and, judging by the results
accomplished, he has succeeded. In a letter written to the
authors of this book, Mr. Sellers says:
"I dislike having my machine called a quadruplane, because
the number of planes is immaterial; the distinctive feature being
the arrangement of the planes in steps; a better name would
be step aeroplane, or step plane.
"The machine as patented, comprises two or more planes
arranged in step form, the highest being in front. The machine
I am now using has four planes 3 ft. x 18 ft.; total about 200
square feet; camber (arch) 1 in 16.
"The vertical keel is for lateral stability; the rudder for
direction. This is the first machine (so far as I know) to have a
combination of wheels and runners or skids (Oct. 1908). The
wheels rise up automatically when the machine leaves the
ground, so that it may alight on the runners.
"A Duthirt & Chalmers 2-cylinder opposed, 3 1/8-inch engine
was used first, and several hundred short flights were made.
The engine gave four brake h. p., which was barely sufficient
for continued flight. The aeroplane complete with this engine
weighed 78 pounds. The engine now used is a Bates 3 5/8-inch,
2-cylinder opposed, showing 8 h. p., and apparently giving
plenty of power. The weight of aeroplane with this engine is
now 110 pounds. Owing to poor grounds only short flights
have been made, the longest to date (Dec. 31, 1910) being about
"In building the present machine, my object was to produce a
safe, slow, light, and small h. p. aeroplane, a purpose which I
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