2018年12月01日 22:24 来源:石家庄新闻网

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Langley was an old man when he began the study of aeronautics, or, as he himself might have expressed it, the study of aerodromics, since he persisted in calling the series of machines he built ‘Aerodromes,’ a word now used only to denote areas devoted to use as landing spaces for flying machines; the Wright Brothers, on the other hand, had the great gift of youth to aid them in their work. Even so it was a great race between Langley, aided by Charles Manly, and Wilbur and Orville Wright, and only the persistent ill-luck which dogged Langley from the start to the finish of his experiments gave victory to his rivals. It has been proved conclusively in these later years of accomplished flight that the machine which Langley launched on the Potomac River in October of 1903 was fully capable of sustained flight, and only the accidents incurred in launching prevented its pilot from being the first man to navigate the air successfully in a power-driven machine.

An important development in connection with the inspection and testing of aircraft parts, particularly in the case of metal, was the experimental application of X-ray photography, which showed up latent defects, both in the material and in manufacture, which would otherwise have passed unnoticed. This method was also used to test the penetration of glue into the wood on each side of joints, so giving a measure of the strength;312 and for the effect of ‘doping’ the wings, dope being a film (of cellulose acetate dissolved in acetone with other chemicals) applied to the covering of wings and bodies to render the linen taut and weatherproof, besides giving it a smooth surface for the lessening of ‘skin friction’ when passing rapidly through the air.

With a series of over thirty rubber-driven models Langley demonstrated the practicability of opposing curved surfaces to the resistance of the air in such a way as to achieve flight, in the early nineties of last century; he then set about finding the motive power which should permit of the construction of larger machines, up to man-carrying size. The internal combustion engine was then an unknown quantity, and he had to turn to steam, finally, as the propulsive energy for his power plant. The chief problem which faced him was that of the relative weight and power of his engine; he harked back to the Stringfellow engine of 1868, which in 1889 came into the possession of the Smithsonian Institution as a historical curiosity. Rightly or wrongly Langley concluded on examination that this engine never had developed and never could develop more than a tenth of the power attributed to it; consequently he abandoned the idea of copying the Stringfellow design and set about making his own engine.

‘They commenced the construction of a small model operated by a spring, and laid down the larger model 20 ft. from tip to tip of planes, 3? ft. wide, giving 70 ft. of sustaining surface, about 10 more in the tail. The making of this model required great consideration; various supports for the wings were tried, so as to combine lightness with firmness, strength and rigidity.

In the kite balloon, the ballonet serves the purpose of a rudder, filling itself through the opening being kept pointed toward the wind—there is an ingenious type of air scoop with non-return valve which assures perfect inflation. In the S. S. type of airship, two ballonets are provided, the supply of air being taken from the propeller draught by a slanting aluminium tube to the underside of the envelope, where it meets a longitudinal fabric hose which connects the two ballonet air inlets. In this hose the non-return air valves, known as ‘crab-pots,’ are fitted, on either side of the junction with the air-scoop. Two automatic air valves, one for each ballonet, are fitted in the underside of the envelope, and, as the air pressure tends to open these instead of keeping them shut, the spring of the valve is set inside the envelope. Each spring is set to open at a pressure of 25 to 28 mm.

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Mr Weaver also notes briefly the construction of the 1905 Wright flier. ‘The frame was made of larch wood—from tip to tip of the wings the dimension was 40 feet. The gasoline motor—a special construction made by them—much the same, though, as the motor on the Pope-Toledo automobile—was of from 12 to 15 horse-power. The motor weighed 240 lbs. The frame was covered with ordinary muslin of good quality. No attempt was made to lighten the machine; they simply built it strong enough to stand the shocks. The structure stood on skids or runners, like a sleigh. These held the frame high enough from the ground in alighting to protect the blades of the propeller. Complete with motor, the machine weighed 925 lbs.’

How he overcame the various difficulties that faced him and constructed a steam-engine capable of the task allotted to it forms a story in itself, too long for recital here. His first power-driven aerodrome of model size was begun in November of 1891, the scale of construction being decided with the idea that it should be large enough to carry an automatic steering apparatus which would render the machine capable of maintaining a long and steady flight. The actual weight of the136 first model far exceeded the theoretical estimate, and Langley found that a constant increase of weight under the exigencies of construction was a feature which could never be altogether eliminated. The machine was made principally of steel, the sustaining surfaces being composed of silk stretched from a steel tube with wooden attachments. The first engines were the oscillating type, but were found deficient in power. This led to the construction of single-acting inverted oscillating engines with high and low pressure cylinders, and with admission and exhaust ports to avoid the complication and weight of eccentric and valves. Boiler and furnace had to be specially designed; an analysis of sustaining surfaces and the settlement of equilibrium while in flight had to be overcome, and then it was possible to set about the construction of the series of model aerodromes and make test of their ‘lift.’

Owing to the necessity of lightness, the weight of the various elements had to be kept at a minimum, and the factor of safety in construction was therefore exceedingly small, so that the machine as a whole was delicate and frail and incapable of sustaining any unusual strain. This defect was to be corrected in later models by utilising data gathered in future experiments under varied conditions.

Practically all glides gave the same result, and in one the machine rose higher and higher until it lost all headway. ‘This was the position from which Lilienthal had always found difficulty in extricating himself, as his machine then, in spite of his greatest exertions, manifested a tendency to dive downward almost vertically and strike the ground head on with frightful velocity. In this case a warning cry from the ground caused the operator to turn the rudder to its full extent and also to move his body slightly forward. The machine then settled slowly to the ground, maintaining its horizontal position almost perfectly, and landed without any injury at all. This was very encouraging, as it showed that one of the very greatest dangers in machines with horizontal tails had been overcome by the use of the front rudder. Several glides later the same experience was repeated with the same result. In the latter case156 the machine had even commenced to move backward, but was nevertheless brought safely to the ground in a horizontal position. On the whole this day’s experiments were encouraging, for while the action of the rudder did not seem at all like that of our 1900 machine, yet we had escaped without difficulty from positions which had proved very dangerous to preceding experimenters, and after less than one minute’s actual practice had made a glide of more than 300 feet, at an angle of descent of ten degrees, and with a machine nearly twice as large as had previously been considered safe. The trouble with its control, which has been mentioned, we believed could be corrected when we should have located its cause.’

John Stringfellow died on December 13th, 1883. His place in the history of aeronautics is at least equal to that of Cayley, and it may be said that he laid the foundation of such work as was subsequently accomplished by Maxim, Langley, and their fellows. It was the coming of the internal combustion engine that rendered flight practicable, and had this prime mover been available in John Stringfellow’s day the Wright brothers’ achievement might have been antedated by half a century.

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‘Some strange results were obtained. One surface, with a heavy roll at the front edge, showed the same lift for all angles from 7? to 45 degrees. This seemed so anomalous that we were almost ready to doubt our own measurements, when a simple test was suggested. A weather vane, with two planes attached to the pointer at an angle of 80 degrees with each other, was made. According to our table, such a vane would be in unstable168 equilibrium when pointing directly into the wind; for if by chance the wind should happen to strike one plane at 39 degrees and the other at 41 degrees, the plane with the smaller angle would have the greater pressure, and the pointer would be turned still farther out of the course of the wind until the two vanes again secured equal pressures, which would be at approximately 30 and 50 degrees. But the vane performed in this very manner. Further corroboration of the tables was obtained in experiments with the new glider at Kill Devil Hill the next season.

Viewing the work of the little group of French experimenters, it is, at this length of time from their exploits, difficult to see why they carried the art as far as they did. There was in it little of satisfaction, a certain measure of fame, and practically no profit—the giants of those days got very little for their pains. Delagrange’s experience at the opening of the Juvisy ground was symptomatic of the way in which flight was regarded by the great mass of people—it was a sport, and nothing more, but a sport without the dividends attaching to professional football or horse-racing. For a brief period, after the Rheims meeting, there was a golden harvest to be reaped by the best of the pilots. Henry Farman asked £2,000 for a week’s exhibition flying in England, and Paulhan asked half that sum, but a rapid increase in the number of capable pilots, together with the fact that most flying meetings were financial failures, owing to great expense in organisation and the doubtful factor of the weather, killed this goose before many golden eggs had been gathered in187 by the star aviators. Besides, as height and distance records were broken one after another, it became less and less necessary to pay for entrance to an aerodrome in order to see a flight—the thing grew too big for a mere sports ground.

For subscriptions of sums of £100, in furtherance of an Extraordinary Invention not at present safe to be developed by securing the necessary Patents, for which three times the sum advanced, namely, £300, is conditionally guaranteed for each subscription on February 1, 1844, in case of the anticipations being realised, with the option of the subscribers being shareholders for the large amount if so desired, but not otherwise.

There is the bald narrative, but it is worthy of some amplification. If Ader actually did what he claimed, then the position which the Wright Brothers hold as first to navigate the air in a power-driven plane is nullified. Although at this time of writing it is not a quarter of a century since Ader’s experiment in the presence of witnesses competent to judge on his accomplishment, there is no proof either way, and whether he was or was not the first man to fly remains a mystery in the story of the conquest of the air.

John Stringfellow died on December 13th, 1883. His place in the history of aeronautics is at least equal to that of Cayley, and it may be said that he laid the foundation of such work as was subsequently accomplished by Maxim, Langley, and their fellows. It was the coming of the internal combustion engine that rendered flight practicable, and had this prime mover been available in John Stringfellow’s day the Wright brothers’ achievement might have been antedated by half a century.

Editorial and publishing enterprise was succeeded by the formation, just across the road from the printing works, of the Wright Cycle Company, where the two brothers launched out as cycle manufacturers with the ‘Van Cleve’ bicycle, a machine of great local repute for excellence of construction, and one which won for itself a reputation that lasted long after it had ceased to be manufactured. The name of the machine was that of an ancestor of the brothers, Catherine Van Cleve, who was one of the first settlers at Dayton, landing there from the River Miami on April 1st, 1796, when the country was virgin forest.

‘I entirely agree with what I understand to be the139 wish of the Board that privacy be observed with regard to the work, and only when it reaches a successful completion shall I wish to make public the fact of its success.

There followed, naturally, a lull in the enthusiasm with which ballooning had been taken up, so far as France was concerned. In Italy, however, Count Zambeccari took up hot-air ballooning, using a spirit lamp to give him buoyancy, and on the first occasion when the balloon car was set on fire Zambeccari let down his passenger by means of the anchor rope, and managed to extinguish the fire while in the air. This reduced the buoyancy of the balloon to such an extent that it fell into the Adriatic and was totally wrecked, Zambeccari being rescued by fishermen. He continued to experiment up to 1812, when he attempted to ascend at Bologna; the spirit in his lamp was upset by the collision of the car with a tree, and the car was again set on fire. Zambeccari jumped from the car when it was over fifty feet above level ground, and was killed. With him the Rozier type of balloon, combining the hydrogen and hot air principles, disappeared; the combination was obviously too dangerous to be practical.

It was finally ascertained that the defect could be remedied by trussing down the ribs of the whole machine so as to reduce the depth of curvature. When this had been done gliding was resumed, and after a few trials glides of 366 and 389 feet were made with prompt response on the part of the machine, even to small movements of the rudder. The rest of the story of the gliding experiments of 1901 cannot be better told than in Wilbur Wright’s own words, as uttered by him in the lecture from which the foregoing excerpts have been made.

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On December 8 last, between 4 and 5 p.m., another attempt at a trial was made, this time at the junction of the Anacostia with the Potomac, just below Washington Barracks.

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‘5. That the head resistances of the framing can be brought to a point much below that usually estimated as necessary.

‘In September and October, 1902, nearly 1,000 gliding flights were made, several of which covered distances of over 600 feet. Some, made against a wind of 36 miles an hour, gave proof of the effectiveness of the devices for control. With this machine, in the autumn of 1903, we made a number of flights in which we remained in the air for over a minute, often soaring for a considerable time in one spot, without any descent at all. Little wonder that our unscientific assistant should think the only thing needed to keep it indefinitely in the air would be a coat of feathers to make it light!’

The casting is particularly interesting as “Aquaman” is going head-to-head at the box office next month against Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns” — the sequel to Andrews’ 1964 classic — which also has a live-action plus animation underwater sequence. Andrews declined to appear in the sequel, as she reportedly didn’t want to distract from star Emily Blunt’s take on the iconic role, though is said to be fully supportive of the project.

The brothers intended originally to get 200 square feet of supporting surface for their glider, but the impossibility of obtaining suitable material compelled them to reduce the area to 165 square feet, which, by the Lilienthal tables, admitted of support in a wind of about twenty-one miles an hour at an angle of three degrees. With this glider they went in the summer of 1900 to the little settlement of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, situated on the strip of land dividing Albemarle Sound from the Atlantic. Here they reckoned on obtaining steady wind, and here, on the day that they completed the machine, they took it out for trial as a kite with the wind blowing at between twenty-five and thirty miles an hour. They found that in order to support a man on it the glider required an angle nearer twenty degrees than three, and even with the wind at thirty miles an hour they could not get down to the planned angle of three degrees. Later, when the wind was too light to support the machine with a man on it,153 they tested it as a kite, working the rudders by cords. Although they obtained satisfactory results in this way they realised fully that actual gliding experience was necessary before the tests could be considered practical.

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