2018年12月01日 22:24 来源:石家庄新闻网

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.’

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‘2. That the ratio of drift to lift in well-shaped165 surfaces is less at angles of incidence of 5 degrees to 12 degrees than at an angle of 3 degrees.

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‘It was not till several months had passed, and every phase of the problem had been thrashed over and over, that the various reactions began to untangle themselves. When once a clear understanding had been obtained there was no difficulty in designing a suitable propeller, with proper diameter, pitch, and area of blade, to meet the requirements of the flier. High efficiency in a screw-propeller is not dependent upon any particular or peculiar shape, and there is no such170 thing as a “best” screw. A propeller giving a high dynamic efficiency when used upon one machine may be almost worthless when used upon another. The propeller should in every case be designed to meet the particular conditions of the machine to which it is to be applied. Our first propellers, built entirely from calculation, gave in useful work 66 per cent of the power expended. This was about one-third more than had been secured by Maxim or Langley.’

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‘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.

Dynamometer tests of engine built in the Smithsonian shops for the full-size Langley Aerodrome.

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.

It is a great story, this of the Wright Brothers, and one worth all the detail that can be spared it. It begins on the 16th April, 1867, when Wilbur Wright was born within eight miles of Newcastle, Indiana. Before Orville’s birth on the 19th August, 1871, the Wright family had moved to Dayton, Ohio, and settled on what is known as the ‘West Side’ of the town. Here the brothers grew up, and, when Orville was still a boy in his teens, he started a printing business, which, as146 Griffith Brewer remarks, was only limited by the smallness of his machine and small quantity of type at his disposal. This machine was in such a state that pieces of string and wood were incorporated in it by way of repair, but on it Orville managed to print a boys’ paper which gained considerable popularity in Dayton ‘West Side.’ Later, at the age of seventeen, he obtained a more efficient outfit, with which he launched a weekly newspaper, four pages in size, entitled The West Side News. After three months’ running the paper was increased in size and Wilbur came into the enterprise as editor, Orville remaining publisher. In 1894 the two brothers began the publication of a weekly magazine, Snap-Shots, to which Wilbur contributed a series of articles on local affairs that gave evidence of the incisive and often sarcastic manner in which he was able to express himself throughout his life. Dr Griffith Brewer describes him as a fearless critic, who wrote on matters of local interest in a kindly but vigorous manner, which did much to maintain the healthy public municipal life of Dayton.

147 It was not until 1896 that the mechanical genius which characterised the two brothers was turned to the consideration of aeronautics. In that year they took up the problem thoroughly, studying all the aeronautical information then in print. Lilienthal’s writings formed one basis for their studies, and the work of Langley assisted in establishing in them a confidence in the possibility of a solution to the problems of mechanical flight. In 1909, at the banquet given by the Royal Aero Club to the Wright Brothers on their return to America, after the series of demonstration flights carried out by Wilbur Wright on the Continent, Wilbur paid tribute to the great pioneer work of Stringfellow, whose studies and achievements influenced his own and Orville’s early work. He pointed out how Stringfellow devised an aeroplane having two propellers and vertical and horizontal steering, and gave due place to this early pioneer of mechanical flight.

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.

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.

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147 It was not until 1896 that the mechanical genius which characterised the two brothers was turned to the consideration of aeronautics. In that year they took up the problem thoroughly, studying all the aeronautical information then in print. Lilienthal’s writings formed one basis for their studies, and the work of Langley assisted in establishing in them a confidence in the possibility of a solution to the problems of mechanical flight. In 1909, at the banquet given by the Royal Aero Club to the Wright Brothers on their return to America, after the series of demonstration flights carried out by Wilbur Wright on the Continent, Wilbur paid tribute to the great pioneer work of Stringfellow, whose studies and achievements influenced his own and Orville’s early work. He pointed out how Stringfellow devised an aeroplane having two propellers and vertical and horizontal steering, and gave due place to this early pioneer of mechanical flight.

69 ‘Having now demonstrated the practicability of making a steam-engine fly, and finding nothing but a pecuniary loss and little honour, this experimenter rested for a long time, satisfied with what he had effected. The subject, however, had to him special charms, and he still contemplated the renewal of his experiments.’

‘3. That in arched surfaces the centre of pressure at 90 degrees is near the centre of the surface, but moves slowly forward as the angle becomes less, till a critical angle varying with the shape and depth of the curve is reached, after which it moves rapidly toward the rear till the angle of no lift is found.

Mr Manly was pulled out of the wreck uninjured143 and the wrecked machine was subsequently placed upon the house-boat, and the whole brought back to Washington.

‘1. That the lifting power of a large machine, held stationary in a wind at a small distance from the earth, is much less than the Lilienthal table and our own laboratory experiments would lead us to expect. When the machine is moved through the air, as in gliding, the discrepancy seems much less marked.

For achieving this flight Joseph Mongolfier received from the King of France a pension of £40, while Stephen was given the Order of St Michael, and a patent of nobility was granted to their father. They were made members of the Legion d’Honneur, and a scientific deputation, of which Faujas de Saint-Fond, who had raised the funds with which Charles’s hydrogen balloon was constructed, presented to Stephen Mongolfier a gold medal struck in honour of his aerial conquest. Since Joseph appears to have had quite as much share in the success as Stephen, the presentation of the medal to one brother only was in questionable taste, unless it was intended to balance Joseph’s pension.

The aerodrome, as completed and prepared for test, is briefly described by Professor Langley as ‘built of steel, weighing complete about 730 lbs., supported by 1,040 feet of sustaining surface, having two propellers driven by a gas engine developing continuously over fifty brake horse-power.’

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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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‘The causes of these troubles—too technical for explanation here—were not entirely overcome till the end of September, 1905. The flights then rapidly increased in length, till experiments were discontinued after October 5, on account of the number of people attracted to the field. Although made on a ground open on every side, and bordered on two sides by much-travelled thoroughfares, with electric cars passing every hour, and seen by all the people living in the neighbourhood for miles around, and by several hundred others, yet these flights have been made by some newspapers the subject of a great “mystery.”’

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