2018年12月01日 22:24 来源:石家庄新闻网

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‘We made glides on subsequent days, whenever the conditions were favourable. The highest wind thus experimented in was a little over twelve metres per second—nearly twenty-seven miles per hour.

It was at the conclusion of these experiments of 1903 that the brothers concluded they had obtained sufficient data from their thousands of glides and multitude of calculations to permit of their constructing and making trial of a power-driven machine. The first designs got out provided for a total weight of 600 lbs., which was to include the weight of the motor and the pilot; but on completion it was found that there was a surplus of power from the motor, and thus they had 150 lbs. weight to allow for strengthening wings and other parts.

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‘8. That a pair of superposed, or tandem surfaces, has less lift in proportion to drift than either surface separately, even after making allowance for weight and head resistance of the connections.’

As in the case of aeroplane flight, as soon as the326 balloon was proved practicable the flight across the English Channel was talked of, and Rozier, who had the honour of the first flight, announced his intention of being first to cross. But Blanchard, who had an idea for a ‘flying car,’ anticipated him, and made a start from Dover on January 7th, 1785, taking with him an American doctor named Jeffries. Blanchard fitted out his craft for the journey very thoroughly, taking provisions, oars, and even wings, for propulsion in case of need. He took so much, in fact, that as soon as the balloon lifted clear of the ground the whole of the ballast had to be jettisoned, lest the balloon should drop into the sea. Half-way across the Channel the sinking of the balloon warned Blanchard that he had to part with more than ballast to accomplish the journey, and all the equipment went, together with certain books and papers that were on board the car. The balloon looked perilously like collapsing, and both Blanchard and Jeffries began to undress in order further to lighten their craft—Jeffries even proposed a heroic dive to save the situation, but suddenly the balloon rose sufficiently to clear the French coast, and the two voyagers landed at a point near Calais in the Forest of Guines, where a marble column was subsequently erected to commemorate the great feat.

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Wilbur Wright in a high glide, 1903.

‘In gliding experiments, however, the amount of lift is of less relative importance than the ratio of lift to drift, as this alone decides the angle of gliding descent. In a plane the pressure is always perpendicular to the surface, and the ratio of lift to drift is therefore the same as that of the cosine to the sine of the angle of incidence. But in curved surfaces a very remarkable situation is found. The pressure, instead of being uniformly normal to the chord of the arc, is usually159 inclined considerably in front of the perpendicular. The result is that the lift is greater and the drift less than if the pressure were normal. Lilienthal was the first to discover this exceedingly important fact, which is fully set forth in his book, Bird Flight the Basis of the Flying Art, but owing to some errors in the methods he used in making measurements, question was raised by other investigators not only as to the accuracy of his figures, but even as to the existence of any tangential force at all. Our experiments confirm the existence of this force, though our measurements differ considerably from those of Lilienthal. While at Kitty Hawk we spent much time in measuring the horizontal pressure on our unloaded machine at various angles of incidence. We found that at 13 degrees the horizontal pressure was about 23 lbs. This included not only the drift proper, or horizontal component of the pressure on the side of the surface, but also the head resistance of the framing as well. The weight of the machine at the time of this test was about 108 lbs. Now, if the pressure had been normal to the chord of the surface, the drift proper would have been to the lift (108 lbs.) as the sine of 13 degrees is to the cosine of 13 degrees, or (.22 × 108) / .97 = 24 + lbs.; but this slightly exceeds the total pull of 23 pounds on our scales. Therefore it is evident that the average pressure on the surface, instead of being normal to the chord, was so far inclined toward the front that all the head resistance of framing and wires used in the construction was more than overcome. In a wind of fourteen miles per hour resistance is by no means a negligible factor, so that tangential is evidently a force of considerable value. In a higher wind, which sustained the machine at an angle of160 10 degrees the pull on the scales was 18 lbs. With the pressure normal to the chord the drift proper would have been (17 × 98) / ·98. The travel of the centre of pressure made it necessary to put sand on the front rudder to bring the centres of gravity and pressure into coincidence, consequently the weight of the machine varied from 98 lbs. to 108 lbs. in the different tests) = 17 lbs., so that, although the higher wind velocity must have caused an increase in the head resistance, the tangential force still came within 1 lb. of overcoming it. After our return from Kitty Hawk we began a series of experiments to accurately determine the amount and direction of the pressure produced on curved surfaces when acted upon by winds at the various angles from zero to 90 degrees. These experiments are not yet concluded, but in general they support Lilienthal in the claim that the curves give pressures more favourable in amount and direction than planes; but we find marked differences in the exact values, especially at angles below 10 degrees. We were unable to obtain direct measurements of the horizontal pressures of the machine with the operator on board, but by comparing the distance travelled with the vertical fall, it was easily calculated that at a speed of 24 miles per hour the total horizontal resistances of our machine, when bearing the operator, amounted to 40 lbs, which is equivalent to about 2? horse-power. It must not be supposed, however, that a motor developing this power would be sufficient to drive a man-bearing machine. The extra weight of the motor would require either a larger machine, higher speed, or a greater angle of incidence in order to support it, and therefore more power. It is probable, however, that an engine of 6 horse-power,161 weighing 100 lbs. would answer the purpose. Such an engine is entirely practicable. Indeed, working motors of one-half this weight per horse-power (9 lbs. per horse-power) have been constructed by several different builders. Increasing the speed of our machine from 24 to 33 miles per hour reduced the total horizontal pressure from 40 to about 35 lbs. This was quite an advantage in gliding, as it made it possible to sail about 15 per cent farther with a given drop. However, it would be of little or no advantage in reducing the size of the motor in a power-driven machine, because the lessened thrust would be counterbalanced by the increased speed per minute. Some years ago Professor Langley called attention to the great economy of thrust which might be obtained by using very high speeds, and from this many were led to suppose that high speed was essential to success in a motor-driven machine. But the economy to which Professor Langley called attention was in foot pounds per mile of travel, not in foot pounds per minute. It is the foot pounds per minute that fixes the size of the motor. The probability is that the first flying machines will have a relatively low speed, perhaps not much exceeding 20 miles per hour, but the problem of increasing the speed will be much simpler in some respects than that of increasing the speed of a steamboat; for, whereas in the latter case the size of the engine must increase as the cube of the speed, in the flying machine, until extremely high speeds are reached, the capacity of the motor increases in less than simple ratio; and there is even a decrease in the fuel per mile of travel. In other words, to double the speed of a steamship (and the same is true of the balloon type of airship) eight times the engine and boiler capacity162 would be required, and four times the fuel consumption per mile of travel; while a flying machine would require engines of less than double the size, and there would be an actual decrease in the fuel consumption per mile of travel. But looking at the matter conversely, the great disadvantage of the flying machine is apparent; for in the latter no flight at all is possible unless the proportion of horse-power to flying capacity is very high; but on the other hand a steamship is a mechanical success if its ratio of horse-power to tonnage is insignificant. A flying machine that would fly at a speed of 50 miles per hour with engines of 1,000 horse-power would not be upheld by its wings at all at a speed of less than 25 miles an hour, and nothing less than 500 horse-power could drive it at this speed. But a boat which could make 40 miles an hour with engines of 1,000 horse-power would still move 4 miles an hour even if the engines were reduced to 1 horse-power. The problems of land and water travel were solved in the nineteenth century, because it was possible to begin with small achievements, and gradually work up to our present success. The flying problem was left over to the twentieth century, because in this case the art must be highly developed before any flight of any considerable duration at all can be obtained.

Galien, a French monk, published a book L’art de naviguer dans l’air in 1757, in which it was conjectured that the air at high levels was lighter than that immediately318 over the surface of the earth. Galien proposed to bring down the upper layers of air and with them fill a vessel, which by Archimidean principle would rise through the heavier atmosphere. If one went high enough, said Galien, the air would be two thousand times as light as water, and it would be possible to construct an airship, with this light air as lifting factor, which should be as large as the town of Avignon, and carry four million passengers with their baggage. How this high air was to be obtained is matter for conjecture—Galien seems to have thought in a vicious circle, in which the vessel that must rise to obtain the light air must first be filled with it in order to rise.

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In one respect the development during the War may perhaps have proved to be somewhat disappointing, as it might have been expected that great improvements would be effected in metal construction, leading almost to the abolition of wooden structures. Although, however, a good deal of experimental work was done which resulted in overcoming at any rate the worst of the difficulties, metal-built machines were little used (except to a certain extent in Germany) chiefly on account of the need for rapid production and the danger of delay resulting from switching over from known and311 tried methods to experimental types of construction. The Germans constructed some large machines, such as the giant Siemens-Schukhert machine, entirely of metal except for the wing covering, while the Fokker and Jünker firms about the time of the Armistice in 1918 both produced monoplanes with very deep all-metal wings (including the covering) which were entirely unstayed externally, depending for their strength on internal bracing. In Great Britain cable bracing gave place to a great extent to ‘stream-line wires,’ which are steel rods rolled to a more or less oval section, while tie-rods were also extensively used for the internal bracing of the wings. Great developments in the economical use of material were also made in the direction of using built-up main spars for the wings and inter-plane struts; spars composed of a series of layers (or ‘laminations’) of different pieces of wood also being used.

Such information as is given here concerning the Wright Brothers is derived from the two best sources available, namely, the writings of Wilbur Wright himself, and a lecture given by Dr Griffith Brewer to members of the Royal Aeronautical Society. There is no doubt that so far as actual work in connection with aviation accomplished by the two brothers is concerned, Wilbur Wright’s own statements are the clearest and best available. Apparently Wilbur was, from the beginning, the historian of the pair, though he himself would have been the last to attempt to detract in any way from the fame that his brother’s work also deserves. Throughout all their experiments the two were inseparable, and their work is one indivisible whole; in fact, in every department of that work, it is impossible to say where Orville leaves off and where Wilbur begins.

The best brief description of the Langley aerodrome in its final form, and of the two attempted trials, is contained in the official report of Major M. M. Macomb of the United States Artillery Corps, which report is here given in full:—

Mr C. M. Manly, working under Professor Langley, had, by the summer of 1903, succeeded in completing an engine-driven machine which under favourable atmospheric conditions was expected to carry a man for any time up to half an hour, and to be capable of having its flight directed and controlled by him.

‘We made glides on subsequent days, whenever the conditions were favourable. The highest wind thus experimented in was a little over twelve metres per second—nearly twenty-seven miles per hour.

‘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.

This machine ran on three wheels before leaving the ground, a central undercarriage wheel being fitted in front, with two more in line with a right angle line drawn through the centre of the engine crank at the rear end of the crank-case. The engine was a 35 horse-power Vee design, water-cooled, with overhead inlet and exhaust valves, and Bosch high-tension magneto ignition. The total weight of the plane in flying order was about 700 lbs.

The next noteworthy balloon was one by Stephen Mongolfier, designed to take up passengers, and therefore of rather large dimensions, as these things went then. The capacity was 100,000 cubic feet, the depth being 85 feet, and the exterior was very gaily decorated. A short, cylindrical opening was made at the lower extremity, and under this a fire-pan was suspended, above the passenger car of the balloon. On October 15th, 1783, Pilatre de Rozier made the first balloon ascent—but the balloon was held captive, and only allowed to rise to a height of 80 feet. But, a little later in 1783, Rozier secured the honour of making the first ascent in a free balloon, taking up with him the Marquis d’Arlandes. It had been originally intended that two criminals, condemned to death, should risk their lives in the perilous venture, with the prospect of a free pardon if they made a safe descent, but d’Arlandes got the royal consent to accompany Rozier, and the criminals lost their chance. Rozier and d’Arlandes made a voyage lasting for twenty-five minutes, and, on landing, the balloon collapsed with such rapidity as323 almost to suffocate Rozier, who, however, was dragged out to safety by d’Arlandes. This first aerostatic journey took place on November 21st, 1783.

Having made their conquest, the brothers took the machine back to camp, and, as they thought, placed it in safety. Talking with the little group of spectators about the flights, they forgot about the machine, and then a sudden gust of wind struck it. Seeing that it was being overturned, all made a rush toward it to save it, and Mr Daniels, a man of large proportions, was in some way lifted off his feet, falling between the planes. The machine overturned fully, and Daniels was shaken like a die in a cup as the wind rolled the machine over and over—he came out at the end of his experience with a series of bad bruises, and no more, but the damage done to the machine by the accident was sufficient to render it useless for further experiment that season.

‘I have reason to believe that the cost of the construction will come within the sum of ,000·00, and that not more than one-half of that will be called for in the coming year.

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Stringfellow’s power-driven model—the first model to achieve engine-driven flight.

A certain Henry M. Weaver, who went to see the work of the brothers, writing in a letter which was subsequently read before the Aero Club de France, records that he had a talk in 1905 with the farmer who rented the field in which the Wrights made their flights. ‘On October 5th (1905) he was cutting corn in the next field east, which is higher ground. When he noticed the aeroplane had started on its flight he remarked175 to his helper: “Well, the boys are at it again,” and kept on cutting corn, at the same time keeping an eye on the great white form rushing about its course. “I just kept on shocking corn,” he continued, “until I got down to the fence, and the durned thing was still going round. I thought it would never stop.”’

As full and complete success is alone looked to, no moderate or imperfect benefit is to be anticipated, but the work, if it once passes the necessary ordeal, to which inventions of every kind must be first subject, will then be regarded by every one as the most astonishing discovery of modern times; no half success can follow, and therefore the full nature of the risk is immediately ascertained.

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A subsequent report of the Board of Ordnance and Fortification to the Secretary of War embodied the144 principal points in Major Macomb’s report, but as early as March 3rd, 1904, the Board came to a similar conclusion to that of the French Ministry of War in respect of Clement Ader’s work, stating that it was not ‘prepared to make an additional allotment at this time for continuing the work.’ This decision was in no small measure due to hostile newspaper criticisms. Langley, in a letter to the press explaining his attitude, stated that he did not wish to make public the results of his work till these were certain, in consequence of which he refused admittance to newspaper representatives, and this attitude produced a hostility which had effect on the United States Congress. An offer was made to commercialise the invention, but Langley steadfastly refused it. Concerning this, Manly remarks that Langley had ‘given his time and his best labours to the world without hope of remuneration, and he could not bring himself, at his stage of life, to consent to capitalise his scientific work.’

Thus, to the end of the 1901 experiments, Wilbur Wright provided a fairly full account of what was accomplished; the record shows an amount of patient and painstaking work almost beyond belief—it was no question of making a plane and launching it, but a business of trial and error, investigation and tabulation166 of detail, and the rejection time after time of previously accepted theories, till the brothers must have felt that the solid earth was no longer secure, at times. Though it was Wilbur who set down this and other records of the work done, yet the actual work was so much Orville’s as his brother’s that no analysis could separate any set of experiments and say that Orville did this and Wilbur did that—the two were inseparable. On this point Griffith Brewer remarked that ‘in the arguments, if one brother took one view, the other brother took the opposite view as a matter of course, and the subject was thrashed to pieces until a mutually acceptable result remained. I have often been asked since these pioneer days, “Tell me, Brewer, who was really the originator of those two?” In reply, I used first to say, “I think it was mostly Wilbur,” and later, when I came to know Orville better, I said, “The thing could not have been done without Orville.” Now, when asked, I find I have to say, “I don’t know,” and I feel the more I think of it that it was only the wonderful combination of these two brothers, who devoted their lives together for this common object, that made the discovery of the art of flying possible.’

‘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.