Archive for the ‘airplanes’ tag

How It Feels To Fly Graphically Told By An Aviator

From August 13, 1911

HOW IT FEELS TO FLY GRAPHICALLY TOLD BY AN AVIATOR

HOW IT FEELS TO FLY GRAPHICALLY TOLD BY AN AVIATOR (PDF)

Previously we’ve learned how to fly a plane in 1910. Now we learn what it feels like for the pilot.

“At last the pitiless hour has arrived. Everything is ready. It is time to start. Amid the deafening roar of the motor the aeroplane snatches itself out of the hands of the men holding it back and hurtles along the ground. Then it hops and suddenly rises with a slide into the air… The irregular jolting and shaking caused by the unevenness of the ground as the aeroplane dashes to its ascent from the earth are succeeded by a soft gliding sensation which defied definition; the anxiety and anguish of the start have vanished to make room for a feeling of repose, of absolute solitude. The man has disappeared: he is now a bird!

[…]

“Everything blends together and dwindles away. Houses look like dice thrown on a billiard table; the largest cities seem like Liliputian towns, the bas-relief melts away, roads, rivers and railways appear to wind their way in a child’s model landscape toy. Only the sea and lofty mountains are spared in this wholesale diminution, and they always impose on the airman respectful admiration mixed with a very lively sentiment of fear.”

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Written by David

August 12th, 2011 at 9:00 am

Freak Patents That Have Come In With The Aeroplane

From July 31, 1910

FREAK PATENTS THAT HAVE COME IN WITH THE AEROPLANE

FREAK PATENTS THAT HAVE COME IN WITH THE AEROPLANE: Would-Be Inventors Keep the Department at Washington Busy With Schemes That Sound Flighty. (PDF)

The illustrations and descriptions of crazy flying contraptions that people applied for patents on (sometimes successfully) are fantastic. I managed to find one of the actual patents for a machine mentioned in the article that’s powered by birds. I think the technical drawings in the patent are even better than the illustrations shown here. Check it out. It’s powered by eagles!

Here’s how the article describes that invention:

From gay Paree comes Edouard Wulff, with a patented scheme for flying by means of “eagles, vultures, or condors.” True to the instincts of his native city, he fits out his birds with “corsets,” the specifications of which as to trimmings, binding, etc., are carefully set out.

By a strange oversight for one bred in the city of fashions, he fails to state what is the latest mode of wearing the feathers on his motors. With wise foresight he has provided for two aeronauts, one on top among the birds and the other below to steer the craft. This is sensible; a man busy prodding up a dozen uncouth and bewildered condors wouldn’t have much time for steering.

Not all of the inventions are outrageous in hindsight. The article takes a mocking tone at a proposed airship so big it has several floors and resembles a hotel, but of course we have multilevel jumbo jets today, some with luxury approaching that of hotels, so it wasn’t so far fetched.

Most of the invention descriptions in the article are too vague for me to find the original patents (if they truly even reached the application stage), but you can find a lot of this kind of thing using Google’s patent search engine. Here is a link to search “flying machine” or “airship” with results displayed visually in chronological order.

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Written by David

July 30th, 2010 at 10:15 am

Hudson Maxim On “A Coming War Of Aeroplanes”

From June 12, 1910

HUDSON MAXIM ON A COMING WAR OF AEROPLANES

HUDSON MAXIM ON A COMING WAR OF AEROPLANES: The Famous Inventor of High Explosives Predicts a Revolution in Warfare Due to the Use of the Craft of the Air as Fighters (PDF)

Hudson Maxim was a chemist and inventor. In this article, he predicts the use of airplanes as fighters in the “next great war,” writing, “there will be new and strange guns and strange missiles in that conflict.” Sure enough, in just a few years World War I would begin, and airplanes would be used for combat — perhaps most famously by a German fighter pilot named Manfred von Ricthofen, better known as the Red Baron.

But Maxim makes other predictions about air travel, writing enthusiastically about the opportunity for inventions that the airplanes will inspire:

Could we come back in 2010, to banquet some famous Curtiss* of that time, we should think little of a flight to the function to do him honor from Chicago, from the Thousand Islands, from the Summer estate on Mount Katahdin in Maine; and the wide stretches of country rushing under as, as we came, would be a strange commingling of villas, city, and farm; while the chains of carefully prepared alighting areas, stretching in all directions, would give the landscape something of the aspect of an enormous fox-and-goose board…

We shall not have to wait a hundred years for the stanch, wind-defying machine with automatic equilibriation. Very soon, automobiling of the sky will be as safe as automobiling upon the earth is now.

*I believe Curtiss here refers to aviator Glenn Curtiss.

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Written by David

June 11th, 2010 at 9:04 am