THEORY, DEVELOPMENT, AND USE.





While every craft that navigates the air is an airship,

all airships are not flying machines. The balloon,

for instance, is an airship, but it is not what is known

among aviators as a flying machine. This latter term

is properly used only in referring to heavier-than-air

machines which have no gas-bag lifting devices, and are made to

really fly by the application of engine propulsion.



Mechanical Birds.



All successful flying machines--and there are a number

of them--are based on bird action. The various

designers have studied bird flight and soaring, mastered

its technique as devised by Nature, and the modern flying

machine is the result. On an exaggerated, enlarged

scale the machines which are now navigating the air

are nothing more nor less than mechanical birds.



Origin of the Aeroplane.



Octave Chanute, of Chicago, may well be called "the

developer of the flying machine." Leaving balloons and

various forms of gas-bags out of consideration, other

experimenters, notably Langley and Lilienthal, antedated

him in attempting the navigation of the air on

aeroplanes, or flying machines, but none of them were

wholly successful, and it remained for Chanute to demonstrate

the practicability of what was then called the

gliding machine. This term was adopted because the

apparatus was, as the name implies, simply a gliding

machine, being without motor propulsion, and intended

solely to solve the problem of the best form of

construction. The biplane, used by Chanute in 1896, is

still the basis of most successful flying machines, the

only radical difference being that motors, rudders, etc.,

have been added.



Character of Chanute's Experiments.



It was the privilege of the author of this book to be

Mr. Chanute's guest at Millers, Indiana, in 1896, when,

in collaboration with Messrs. Herring and Avery, he was

conducting the series of experiments which have since

made possible the construction of the modern flying

machine which such successful aviators as the Wright

brothers and others are now using. It was a wild

country, much frequented by eagles, hawks, and similar

birds. The enthusiastic trio, Chanute, Herring and

Avery, would watch for hours the evolutions of some

big bird in the air, agreeing in the end on the verdict,

"When we master the principle of that bird's soaring

without wing action, we will have come close to solving

the problem of the flying machine."



Aeroplanes of various forms were constructed by Mr.

Chanute with the assistance of Messrs. Herring and

Avery until, at the time of the writer's visit, they had

settled upon the biplane, or two-surface machine. Mr.

Herring later equipped this with a rudder, and made

other additions, but the general idea is still the basis of

the Wright, Curtiss, and other machines in which, by

the aid of gasolene motors, long flights have been made.



Developments by the Wrights.



In 1900 the Wright brothers, William and Orville, who were then

in the bicycle business in Dayton, Ohio,

became interested in Chanute's experiments and

communicated with him. The result was that the Wrights

took up Chanute's ideas and developed them further,

making many additions of their own, one of which was

the placing of a rudder in front, and the location of the

operator horizontally on the machine, thus diminishing

by four-fifths the wind resistance of the man's body.

For three years the Wrights experimented with the

glider before venturing to add a motor, which was not

done until they had thoroughly mastered the control of

their movements in the air.



Limits of the Flying Machine.



In the opinion of competent experts it is idle to look

for a commercial future for the flying machine. There

is, and always will be, a limit to its carrying capacity

which will prohibit its employment for passenger or

freight purposes in a wholesale or general way. There

are some, of course, who will argue that because a

machine will carry two people another may be constructed

that will carry a dozen, but those who make

this contention do not understand the theory of weight

sustentation in the air; or that the greater the load the

greater must be the lifting power (motors and plane

surface), and that there is a limit to these--as will be

explained later on--beyond which the aviator cannot go.



Some Practical Uses.



At the same time there are fields in which the flying

machine may be used to great advantage. These are:



Sports--Flying machine races or flights will always

be popular by reason of the element of danger. It is

a strange, but nevertheless a true proposition, that it is

this element which adds zest to all sporting events.



Scientific--For exploration of otherwise inaccessible

regions such as deserts, mountain tops, etc.



Reconnoitering--In time of war flying machines may

be used to advantage to spy out an enemy's encampment,

ascertain its defenses, etc.





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