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  1. #101

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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    Dick's note came in while I was typing. Yes, I am sure he's right about that. Anhedral did make it easier to handle gusts. But they went back and forth with it. Ultimately it was the instability it caused in turns that convinced them to give it up. Nearly all the photos from 1904 and 1905 show straight wings, but there is one from 1904 that shows anhedral. I think it was an early photo and they gave it up as soon as they started making turns.

    These two are from 1904...

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  2. #102

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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    And these are from 1905...

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  3. #103

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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    Jim, The dates of the letters mentioned are noted and listed in order in the Notes section.

    There are some comments on the growing rift between Dr. Chanute and the Wright's interpretation of historical facts in sworn court statements and their business practices. Specifically their dismissal of other pioneer's accomplishments by calling them only “inspirational”, obtaining court injunctions to stop other flier’s demonstrations and stop competition the Wright's declined to enter and what he considered exorbitant rates charged by the Wright company.

    The letter dated April 20 1905 from Montgomery to Dr. Chanute requested he keep in confidence concerning his intention to obtain a patent. Dr. Chanute received the letter on the 28th and responded by saying “I thank you for your letter of 20th, and the photograph, which letter I will keep to myself for the present, as I infer that you are applying for a patent”. Chanute had, however, already passed on the dimensions of specifications of Montgomery’s machine to the Wright’s on the 20th. Despite his word to the contrary, Chanute continued to not only encourage Montgomery but to pass on the information received onto the Wright’s. Montgomery, located on the West Coast, never realized Chanute was feeding the Wright brothers his trade secrets that they may have incorporated or attempted to obtain legal rulings against.

    Dennis
    I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

  4. #104
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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    I did not know that, I had always thought the Wrights developed the wind tunnel. I guess I thought I heard that somewhere. I am attempting to put my Reaching for the Sky's series on DVD if anyone is interested leave me your email and I will let you know when it's done. Unless someone knows if the original series was done in DVD....

  5. #105

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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    Thanks Dennis. Chanute did pass around information that people thought they were entrusting to him. He did it to the Wrights and to Langley. I don't know what he did with Montgomery, but I do want to check it out. The question is whether there was anything of significance that influenced the Wrights? I don't think so. I wonder how often this happened? If it was more than once or twice it seems to me the Wrights should have told Chanute to stop it.

    Around the end of 1901 Langley sent Chanute a drawing of the airfoil he was planning to use in the Aerodrome, confidentially, at a time when the Wrights were testing their own airfoils in their wind tunnel. Chanute was impressed with the Wrights' results and couldn't resist the temptation to see what they made of Langley's. They ran it through their tests and found it inferior to nearly all the airfoils they had tested. They probably knew the airfoil was poor as soon as they opened Chanute's letter. They had long since rejected airfoils with so much camber. The Wrights reported their results to Chanute.

    Chanute had put himself, and potentially the Wrights, into an ethical predicament. Suppose Langley's airfoil had been better than the Wrights'? What would the Wrights and Chanute have done? Since it was inferior, did Chanute tell Langley? He didn't. But as one author pointed out, Langley wouldn't have acted on it anyway. Why would he think those bicycle guys had a better testing method than his own?

    Chanute also revealed more about the Wrights work to the French than the Wrights wanted him to. It also became clear from comments of members of the French aero society that Chanute had at least implied that they were his students and proteges. But Chanute disagreed with the Wrights' pursuit of manual three-axis control and never really understood what they were doing, so his accounts were never clear. Of course, once the French got hold of the Wrights' patent application and published it in their journal they had everything they needed to figure it out. But for some reason they didn't until they saw Wilbur fly in 1908.

    Chanute came across as a sweet old man, but he believed that his mission was to spread information among experimenters so that eventually flight would be achieved, and he didn't care who did it. So he tip toed around people's desire for secrecy, and sometimes outright violated it.

    Jim

  6. #106

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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    I suspect we’re getting a bit carried away with just how clever the anahedral really is. The gust handling explanations for the anhedral seen in photos of the early Wright biplanes are starting to take on the aspects of the stealth capabilities lately attributed to the Ho-229. All their early Wright planes were lightly built, wire braced structures that were necessarily fixable to allow their evolving wing-warping mechanism to work; so they sagged when not supporting the craft in the air. I see no evidence the spars were constructed anytway but straight to support any conclusion that anahedral was built into the design. The anhedral we see with them at rest is due to gravity rather than a design feature, rather like a B-52 wing. If the anahedral actually works to control gusts near the ground, as claimed, it’s probably serendipity. Did the Wright’s actually offer that explanation for the anahedral or was it an invention of one of their admirers? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Dennis
    I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

  7. #107

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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    Good grief, talk about getting carried away! This is not difficult information to find. The Wrights rigged the wings with the cross wires to the shape they wanted. The spars were thin and flexible. They began trying anhedral in 1902. They were very explicit about what they were doing and why, and what the results were. They also explained why they stopped using it.

    In the photos below you can see that the original 1903 Flyer had anhedral even when it was in the air. That's because it was rigged that way. Have you seen that picture somewhere before? The last photo shows a the machine at Fort Myer doing the cart test. If it is drooping, it is not by much.

    Or go back and look at the videos Matz showed.
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  8. #108
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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    Jim's right. The anhedral is "rigged in" and is an obvious feature of the aircraft in flight. It's not at all a difficult thing to do. As far as the wings being "flexible" well it can only be flexible where it's supposed to be flexible.

  9. #109

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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    Thanks, I stand corrected.
    Dennis
    I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

  10. #110
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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    Here's an ironic fact for historical perspective: Usain Bolt RUNS faster than the Wrights first plane FLEW!

  11. #111

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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    Yeah, but he wasn't running against a 20+ mph headwind!

    At Kitty Hawk you can walk to the distance markers in not much more time that it took the Wrights to fly that far.

  12. #112

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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?


    ORIGINAL: buzzard bait

    Or go back and look at the videos Matz showed.

    Sorry Jim, but I have deleted my posts in this thread.
    The reason is, that the course is no objectively and I will not give material more for that.

  13. #113

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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    I understand Matz. I've decided I won't let it all go unanswered, but I've been tempted to wash my hands of it many times. Here are a few problems with Gustave...

    He stated the weight of No. 21 as 150 pounds including two engines, wheels, transmission, props and airframe. It’s not possible.

    He stated his acetylene engine weighed 35 pounds and produced 20 hp. That is 1.75 lbs/hp...a fantastic power to weight ratio not achieved by others until the 1930s. Isn’t that amazing? He claimed it was acetylene as a fuel that made this possible. Yet his next engine was a five-cylinder diesel burning kerosene. If the acetylene engine was so fantastic why switch? To an engine with a lower power to weight ratio?

    He claimed his props and engine produced 508 lbs of thrust. If everything is true, he could have flown straight up!

    He said he steered by differential thrust of the props which the acetylene engine allowed him to do. Yet in flight he supposedly steered by leaning his body. In his claimed 7 mile flight over Long Island Sound more than a year before the Wrights managed 852 feet, he steered by varying prop speed. Except then he had a kerosene engine, not the acetylene one. So how did he do it? Other claims have him using wing-warping “before the Wrights’ patent”. Which was it? Show us the mechanisms. Explain the discrepancies.

    After the mythological 7 mile flight over Long Island Sound, in which he made the first complete circle, he switched to hang gliders similar to those of Lilienthal and Chanute from the 1890s.

    Number 21 has a Lilienthal-like wing with a deep camber, probably the 12% used by Lilienthal, and a low aspect ratio wing. It would have had an extremely poor L/D.

    Long after the Wrights flew, GW built a couple of aircraft for others, but none of them ever left the ground.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Paul Jackson’s embrace of this story is incredibly foolish. It doesn’t just have a bad odor, it reeks. That’s why I groan every time I see a new Gustave Whitehead article.

  14. #114
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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    ORIGINAL: gabriel voisin
    The reason is, that the course is no objectively and I will not give material more for that.
    Matz, a good discussion doesn't have to be about who's right or who's wrong...or even what's true. A good discussion is just a nice tool for learning. Personally, I've learned a huge amount from all the posts here and, if anything, come out more convinced than ever that the Wrights deserve the the title of First Flight.

  15. #115
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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    ORIGINAL: buzzard bait
    He stated the weight of No. 21 as 150 pounds including two engines, wheels, transmission, props and airframe. It’s not possible.
    Does anyone know how much the Whitehead replica weighed? I can't find a figure but it doesn't look like it would weigh anything near as much as the Wright's much more sophisticated airframe.
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  16. #116

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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    All I know is they used a modern ultralight engine. I imagine they took Whitehead's engine weight claim at face value, and met it with the modern engine. Beyond that they'd have had to make a lot of presumptions about structure, which can't help but be informed by modern practice, since detailed drawings do not exist.

  17. #117

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    RE: Wrights Wrong? What do you think?

    The most recent issue of WWI Aero, No. 215, May 2013, has an excellent editorial by the Jonathan Fallon who is the editor of the publication. He lays out the case against Whitehead and John Brown's claims very clearly. He also printed an exchange between Tom Crouch and John Brown. The measured tone Brown used in the original article is entirely gone and I think he just discredited himself. Crouch refuted him point by point, very persuasively.

    For me the bigger issue is that all the efforts to dispute the Wrights' primacy have the same fault: they fail to give any real consideration to how difficult it was to invent a successful flying machine at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. To imagine that someone else like Whitehead managed to overcome all the difficulties the Wrights encountered without any apparent research and development program cheapens what was actually accomplished.

    The same issue of WWI Aero also has Part Two of a series on a Thomas-Morse Scout that I've been working on and writing about.

    Jim


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