SOME OF THE NEW DESIGNS.
Spurred on by the success attained by the more experienced
and better known aviators numerous inventors
of lesser fame are almost daily producing practical flying
machines varying radically in construction from
those now in general use.
One of these comparatively new designs is the Van
Anden biplane, made by Frank Van Anden of Islip,
Long Island, a member of the New York Aeronautic
Society. While his machine is wholly experimental,
many successful short flights were made with it last fall
(1909). One flight, made October 19th, 1909, is of particular
interest as showing the practicability of an automatic
stabilizing device installed by the inventor. The
machine was caught in a sudden severe gust of wind
and keeled over, but almost immediately righted itself,
thus demonstrating in a most satisfactory manner the
value of one new attachment.
Features of Van Anden Model.
In size the surfaces of the main biplane are 26 feet
in spread, and 4 feet in depth from front to rear. The
upper and lower planes are 4 feet apart. Silkolene
coated with varnish is used for the coverings. Ribs
(spruce) are curved one inch to the foot, the deepest
part of the curve (4 inches) being one foot back from the
front edge of the horizontal beam. Struts (also of
spruce, as is all the framework) are elliptical in shape.
The main beams are in three sections, nearly half round
in form, and joined by metal sleeves.
There is a two-surface horizontal rudder, 2x2x4 feet,
in front. This is pivoted at its lateral center 8 feet from
the front edge of the main planes. In the rear is another
two-surface horizontal rudder 2x2x2 1/2 feet, pivoted
in the same manner as the front one, 15 feet from the
rear edges of the main planes.
Hinged to the rear central strut of the rear rudder
is a vertical rudder 2 feet high by 3 feet in length.
The Method of Control.
In the operation of these rudders--both front and rear
--and the elevation and depression of the main planes,
the Curtiss system is employed. Pushing the steering-
wheel post outward depresses the front edges of the
planes, and brings the machine downward; pulling the
steering-wheel post inward elevates the front edges of
the planes and causes the machine to ascend.
Turning the steering wheel itself to the right swings
the tail rudder to the left, and the machine, obeying this
like a boat, turns in the same direction as the wheel
is turned. By like cause turning the wheel to the left
turns the machine to the left.
Automatic Control of Wings.
There are two wing tips, each of 6 feet spread (length)
and 2 feet from front to rear. These are hinged half
way between the main surfaces to the two outermost
rear struts. Cables run from these to an automatic
device working with power from the engine, which automatically
operates the tips with the tilting of the
machine. Normally the wing tips are held horizontal
by stiff springs introduced in the cables outside of the
It was the successful working of this device which
righted the Van Anden craft when it was overturned in
the squall of October 19th, 1909. Previous to that
occurrence Mr. Van Anden had looked upon the device
as purely experimental, and had admitted that he had
grave uncertainty as to how it would operate in time of
emergency. He is now quoted as being thoroughly satisfied
with its practicability. It is this automatic device
which gives the Van Anden machine at least one distinctively
While on this subject it will not be amiss to add that
Mr. Curtiss does not look kindly on automatic control.
"I would rather trust to my own action than that of a
machine," he says. This is undoubtedly good logic so
far as Mr. Curtiss is concerned, but all aviators are not
so cool-headed and resourceful.
Motive Power of Van Anden.
A 50-horsepower "H-F" water cooled motor drives a
laminated wood propeller 6 feet in diameter, with a 17
degree pitch at the extremities, increasing toward the
hub. The rear end of the motor is about 6 inches back
from the rear transverse beam and the engine shaft is
in a direct line with the axes of the two horizontal rudders.
An R. I. V. ball bearing carries the shaft at this
point. Flying, the motor turns at about 800 revolutions
per minute, delivering 180 pounds pull. A test of the
motor running at 1,200 showed a pull of 250 pounds on
Still Another New Aeroplane.
Another new aeroplane is that produced by A. M.
Herring (an old-timer) and W. S. Burgess, under the
name of the Herring-Burgess. This is also equipped
with an automatic stability device for maintaining the
balance transversely. The curvature of the planes is
also laid out on new lines. That this new plan is
effective is evidenced by the fact that the machine has
been elevated to an altitude of 40 feet by using one-half
the power of the 30-horsepower motor.
The system of rudder and elevation control is very
simple. The aviator sits in front of the lower plane,
and extending his arms, grasps two supports which extend
down diagonally in front. On the under side of
these supports just beneath his fingers are the controls
which operate the vertical rudder, in the rear. Thus, if
he wishes to turn to the right, he presses the control
under the fingers of his right hand; if to the left, that
under the fingers of his left hand. The elevating rudder
is operated by the aviator's right foot, the control
being placed on a foot-rest.
Motor Is Extremely Light.
Not the least notable feature of the craft is its motor.
Although developing, under load, 30-horsepower, or that
of an ordinary automobile, it weighs, complete, hardly
100 pounds. Having occasion to move it a little distance
for inspection, Mr. Burgess picked it up and walked
off with it--cylinders, pistons, crankcase and all, even
the magneto, being attached. There are not many 30-
horsepower engines which can be so handled. Everything
about it is reduced to its lowest terms of simplicity,
and hence, of weight. A single camshaft operates
not only all of the inlet and exhaust valves, but the magneto
and gear water pump, as well. The motor is placed
directly behind the operator, and the propeller is directly
mounted on the crankshaft.
This weight of less than 100 pounds, it must be
remembered, is not for the motor alone; it includes the
entire power plant equipment.
The "thrust" of the propeller is also extraordinary,
being between 250 and 260 pounds. The force of the
wind displacement is strong enough to knock down a
good-sized boy as one youngster ascertained when he
got behind the propeller as it was being tested. He
was not only knocked down but driven for some distance
away from the machine. The propeller has four
blades which are but little wider than a lath.
Machine Built by Students.
Students at the University of Pennsylvania, headed by
Laurence J. Lesh, a protege of Octave Chanute, have
constructed a practical aeroplane of ordinary maximum
size, in which is incorporated many new ideas. The
most unique of these is to be found in the steering gear,
and the provision made for the accommodation of a
pupil while taking lessons under an experienced aviator.
Immediately back of the aviator is an extra seat and
an extra steering wheel which works in tandem style
with the front wheel. By this arrangement a beginner
may be easily and quickly taught to have perfect control
of the machine. These tandem wheels are also
handy for passengers who may wish to operate the car
independently of one another, it being understood, of
course, that there will be no conflict of action.
Frame Size and Engine Power.
The frame has 36 feet spread and measures 35 feet
from the front edge to the end of the tail in the rear. It
is equipped with two rear propellers operated by a Ramsey
8-cylinder motor of 50 horsepower, placed horizontally
across the lower plane, with the crank shaft running
clear through the engine.
The "Pennsylvania I" is the first two-propeller biplane
chainless car, this scheme having been adopted in order
to avoid the crossing of chains. The lateral control is
by a new invention by Octave Chanute and Laurence J.
Lesh, for which Lesh is now applying for a patent. The
device was worked out before the Wright brothers' suit
was begun, and is said to be superior to the Wright
warping or the Curtiss ailerons. The landing device is
also new in design. This aeroplane will weigh about
1,500 pounds, and will carry fuel for a flight of 150 miles,
and it is expected to attain a speed of at least 45 miles
There are others, lots of them, too numerous in fact
to admit of mention in a book of this size.