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

new feature.

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

the scales.

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

an hour.

There are others, lots of them, too numerous in fact

to admit of mention in a book of this size.