Having constructed and equipped your machine, the

next thing is to decide upon the method of controlling

the various rudders and auxiliary planes by which the

direction and equilibrium and ascending and descending

of the machine are governed.

The operator must be in position to shift instantaneously the

position of rudders and planes, and also to control

the action of the motor. This latter i
supposed to

work automatically and as a general thing does so with

entire satisfaction, but there are times when the supply

of gasolene must be regulated, and similar things done.

Airship navigation calls for quick action, and for this

reason the matter of control is an important one--it is

more than important; it is vital.

Several Methods of Control.

Some aviators use a steering wheel somewhat after

the style of that used in automobiles, and by this not

only manipulate the rudder planes, but also the flow of

gasolene. Others employ foot levers, and still others,

like the Wrights, depend upon hand levers.

Curtiss steers his aeroplane by means of a wheel, but

secures the desired stabilizing effect with an ingenious

jointed chair-back. This is so arranged that by leaning

toward the high point of his wing planes the aeroplane

is restored to an even keel. The steering post of the

wheel is movable backward and forward, and by this

motion elevation is obtained.

The Wrights for some time used two hand levers, one

to steer by and warp the flexible tips of the planes, the

other to secure elevation. They have now consolidated

all the functions in one lever. Bleriot also uses the

single lever control.

Farman employs a lever to actuate the rudders, but

manipulates the balancing planes by foot levers.

Santos-Dumont uses two hand levers with which to

steer and elevate, but manipulates the planes by means

of an attachment to the back of his outer coat.

Connection With the Levers.

No matter which particular method is employed, the

connection between the levers and the object to be manipulated

is almost invariably by wire. For instance, from

the steering levers (or lever) two wires connect with opposite

sides of the rudder. As a lever is moved so as to

draw in the right-hand wire the rudder is drawn to the

right and vice versa. The operation is exactly the same

as in steering a boat. It is the same way in changing

the position of the balancing planes. A movement of

the hands or feet and the machine has changed its

course, or, if the equilibrium is threatened, is back on

an even keel.

Simple as this seems it calls for a cool head, quick

eye, and steady hand. The least hesitation or a false

movement, and both aviator and craft are in danger.

Which Method is Best?

It would be a bold man who would attempt to pick

out any one of these methods of control and say it was

better than the others. As in other sections of aeroplane

mechanism each method has its advocates who dwell

learnedly upon its advantages, but the fact remains that

all the various plans work well and give satisfaction.

What the novice is interested in knowing is how the

control is effected, and whether he has become proficient

enough in his manipulation of it to be absolutely dependable

in time of emergency. No amateur should attempt

a flight alone, until he has thoroughly mastered

the steering and plane control. If the services and advice of an

experienced aviator are not to be had the

novice should mount his machine on some suitable supports

so it will be well clear of the ground, and, getting

into the operator's seat, proceed to make himself well

acquainted with the operation of the steering wheel and


Some Things to Be Learned.

He will soon learn that certain movements of the

steering gear produce certain effects on the rudders. If,

for instance, his machine is equipped with a steering

wheel, he will find that turning the wheel to the right

turns the aeroplane in the same direction, because the

tiller is brought around to the left. In the same way

he will learn that a given movement of the lever throws

the forward edge of the main plane upward, and that the

machine, getting the impetus of the wind under the concave

surfaces of the planes, will ascend. In the same

way it will quickly become apparent to him that an opposite

movement of the lever will produce an opposite

effect--the forward edges of the planes will be lowered,

the air will be "spilled" out to the rear, and the machine

will descend.

The time expended in these preliminary lessons will

be well spent. It would be an act of folly to attempt to

actually sail the craft without them.