View previous topic | View next topic


Page 2 of 3
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

312044.  Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:32 pm Reply with quote

Q. Who made the first aeroplane flight?
A. George Cayley’s coachman.

Although he hadn’t the tools to complete the job, the father of flight is a Yorkshireman called George Cayley. Cayley (b. 1773) doodled flying machines in his schoolbooks (probably fascinated by balloon flights) and put his ideas into practice, but not until he had carried out extensive research into aerodynamics. He investigated birds’ wings, looked at lift and drag of bodies passing through air, steering by moving the tail, discovered the stabilising effect of “dihedral” (positioning wings at an incline to the fuselage) and even proposed an engine. As steam engines were the only power source available, it was this that defeated him in the search for powered flight – they were just too heavy (he did try an engine powered by gunpowder, but without success). Nevertheless he soldiered on and in 1804 flew the world’s first model aeroplane. Five years later he flew a full size version and eventually in 1853 he persuaded his coachman to pilot a man carrying glider across Brompton Dale. Allegedly the coachman quit his service immediately after the flight saying he was hired to drive, not fly.

Orville Wright made the first powered flight on December 17th 1903.

Note: this obviously depends on the definition of Aeroplane.
My trusty Chambers Etymological gives:

A flying machine, heavier than air, with planes or wings.

I notice that American dictionaries on line add the phrase ‘powered by jet engines or propellers’. Is there a little envy in this?

312143.  Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:46 pm Reply with quote

Do we know why he didn't get the credit?

I like that we don't know the coachman's name.

312151.  Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:50 pm Reply with quote

This question gives a great link into the note about the first of the Wright brothers getting the credit because he lost the toss.

312345.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:59 am Reply with quote

Cayley is a big hero to aeronautical engineeers because he actually advanced the theory of aerodynamics a huge amount (designing aerofoil shaped wings, identifying thrust, lift & drag, and showing that dihedral gives stability). I imagine that the Wrights owe him a great debt. He is perhaps overshadowed by the Wrights because he couldn't find a suitable power source in his lifetime and so could only take his craft as far as a glider. He did identify what a suitable power source might be: It should be light and might operate "by the sudden combustion of inflammable powders or fluids" - foreseeing the internal combustion engine. It also explains his quest for a gunpowder engine.

There have been several successful reconstructions of his craft. I'm sure that they will be on film because the most recent one was flown by Richard Branson (who travels with a camera dangling from his earlobe).

312351.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:10 am Reply with quote

Are we happy that a glider is an aeroplane?

Another English air-innovator was Chard bobbin-maker John Stringfellow who invented what I would call the first aeroplane - in that it was powered by an engine - in 1848. However this was unmanned.

Has this been covered before? If not, I should add the old chestnut of a factoid that the Wright Brothers first flight story was broken by the magazine "Gleanings In Bee Culture".

312353.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:12 am Reply with quote

With link to excellent bumblebee flight question. Fate just keeps on happening, and that's the truth.

313152.  Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:01 am Reply with quote

According to baden-powell:

They [bees] are a quite a model community for they respect their Queen and kill their unemployed

313315.  Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:22 am Reply with quote

We discussed a question like:

What's the best way to point a rocket?

Will sent me this:
The escape velocity relative to the surface of a rotating body depends on direction in which the escaping body travels. For example, as the Earth's rotational velocity is 465 m/s at the equator, a rocket launched tangentially from the Earth's equator to the east requires an initial velocity of about 10.735 km/s relative to Earth to escape whereas a rocket launched tangentially from the Earth's equator to the west requires an initial velocity of about 11.665 km/s relative to Earth. The surface velocity decreases with the cosine of the geographic latitude, so space launch facilities are often located as close to the equator as feasible, e.g. the American Cape Canaveral in Florida and the European Guyana Space Centre, only 5 degrees from the equator in French Guyana.

which means this is a much better question than we realized, because now the answer is "East" (for an interesting reason) as well as "horizontally" (for another slightly less interesting reason) and because it contains an obvious line of humourous development about the West having a built-in advantage in a missile war.

313650.  Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:35 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
The escape velocity relative to the surface of a rotating body depends on direction in which the escaping body travels.

Gah! That's the problem with knowing too much about a subject (something that will doubtless get worse now I'm working at an observatory), I assumed everyone knew that already.

Flash wrote:
and because it contains an obvious line of humourous development about the West having a built-in advantage in a missile war.

Now hold your horses there, young Flash. It's one thing getting a satellite into orbit, since the position you're aiming for in space doesn't move. However, aiming missiles at the ground is a whole different ball game.

Whilst the West's missiles may have a larger overall velocity 'cos they're effectively getting a push from the rotation of the earth, that same rotation means their target is getting further away as they fly. Contrariwise, the East's missiles may have a velocity disadvantage, but their targets are rather invitingly heading towards them. I feel pretty confident that, once you do the math (as certain Canadians are wont to say), those two effects will balance out and neither side will have an advantage.

313653.  Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:43 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
humourous development

313670.  Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:00 am Reply with quote

Tell me more of what you earthlings call "humour"

Molly Cule
313767.  Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:05 am Reply with quote

Possible GI for Flight is

That Lindberg was at the 67th/80 something/100 something person to fly over the Atlantic - depending on what website you choose! I am sure one of you knows the right info.

A - The first flight was made as a joint effort between many people in 1919 in an NC-4 flying boat - there were copious landings, changes of crew and repairs over twenty-four days.

The trip was made in response to a competition, set up by Alfred, Lord Northcliffe, publisher of the London Daily Mail, who had offered a prize in 1913 of fifty thousand dollars to the first aviator to cross the Atlantic. In the original rules, the plane making the Atlantic crossing was allowed to land on the water along the way, could be refueled in the Azores, and even towed for repairs, as long as the flight continued from the point of touch down. The Daily Mail then changed these rules but the US Navy decided to try it anyway for scientific interest. The trip got most publicity from he most extensive reporting on the operation was filed by a Yale undergraduate for the Yale Graphic. Named, Juan Terry Trippe, he would later become the creator of Pan American Airways.

The NC4 trip as eclipsed weeks later by a two-man crossing by Alcock and Brown between Newfoundland and Ireland.

Lindberg was the first to fly non-stop and solo.

During Lindberg's flight the biggest problem he encountered was staying awake, he had to keep pinching himself and - apparently opening the side window to let in blasts of cold air to keep himself awake. He had not slept in 24 hours when he took off. He had been on his way to watch a Broadway show when the weatherman has given him the all clear to take off.

Molly Cule
315877.  Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:27 am Reply with quote

notes for iceland ravens

The US army has over a thousand ravens to show troops what lies ahead. It is a portable spy plane that comes in parts that can be snapped together in 10 mins for a bird’s eye view of earth. You throw it into the air to launch it then fly it remotely or let it fly itself using GPS.
s - science museum

image here -

326901.  Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:19 am Reply with quote

The first person to make repeated succesful flights was Otto Lilienthal. The German was cited by the Wright Brothers as their inspiration for persuing flying machines.

Lilienthal died in 1896 when he fell from one of his gliders and broke his back; his supposed last words were:

small sacrifices must be made

s: EBR, wik

327259.  Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:52 am Reply with quote

Lilienthal studied bird flight and published Bird Flight as the Basis for Aviation - the work that influenced the Wright Bros. He made over 2000 flights in a six year period. At the time of his death he was designing a carbonic acid gas engine to give his gliders power to flap their wings like birds.

Another pioneer of the period was Sir Hiram Maxim. He actually made an aircraft powered by TWO steam engines turning 18 foot diameter propellors and weighing 3.5 tonnes! Once he had ascertained that the machine could lift itself off the ground, he considered his work complete and gave up in 1894.

Octave Chanute refined Lilienthal's designs, in particular adding bracing struts to the wings. He was a consultant to the Wright Bros.

Samuel Pierpont Langley, a great aerodynamic theorist, designed a powered plane he called the Aerodrome with a 52 HP engine weighing only 125 pounds. Apparently the only reason he failed to beat the Wrights was that his launch catapult failed.


Page 2 of 3
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours

Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group