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Author Topic: Steam-powered heavier than air flight  (Read 389 times)
wazantema
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Netherlands Netherlands


« on: May 20, 2017, 09:27:34 pm »

Okay, so this is really cool!

Heavier than air flight goes back a lot further than the Wright brothers. A model version of a steam powered plane managed to take off as early as 1848! And guess what it was called? The Aerial Steam Carriage. HOW DELICIOUSLY STEAMPUNK DOES THAT SOUND??? The inventors even founded what they wished to become the first 'airline', for lack of a better term. They founded the Aerial Transit Company in 1843, whose purpose was "to convey letters, goods and passengers from place to place through the air".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerial_steam_carriage

Pretty neat, huh?
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Hurricane Annie
Zeppelin Captain
*****
New Zealand New Zealand



« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2017, 02:08:28 am »


 THis is an interesting  subject for discussion.   I wonder how any other  projects and plans there were historically,  that   anticipated commercial air  travel  services.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 09:18:44 am by Hurricane Annie » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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Sentisne fortunatum punkus? Veni. Diem meum comple


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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2017, 06:46:50 am »

Take a look at this timeline. It really makes you wonder why the idea took so long to take off ( Grin pun intended ).

Sir George Cayley had made great strides in setting down on paper the necessary physics analysis of flight. So it makes sense that others would have access to this information and try. Universally it is though that the weight to power ratio of the steam engine was too low, and that is what prevented self propelled aircraft from taking off. Even internal combustion engines in the years preceding the Wright's flights were too weak, and so Wilbur and Orville had to design their own engine. While many others had the wrong idea about the needed wing area needed to produce enough lift, almost everyone who attempted to design aircraft knew instinctively that a larger area was key.

However besides the lack of power, the theory on cambered wing lift was not always complete or even used, and it took some time for the Wright Bros themselves to tire of studying the existing literature before they set on their own to build a wind tunnel and try airfoil cross sections. The same happened with propellers - all the literature was based on marine propellers.

The problem was not that camber in airfoils was unknown; quite the contrary, Sir George Cayley had experimented with cambered designs and even as far back as DaVinci you will find cambered wings. The problem was that even a flat plate will produce lift at an angle of attack. So people just proceeded to design wings (and propellers) like kites - they work, but not as efficiently as a properly cambered wing, so you could say that a lot of time was wasted in using wrong airfoil configurations -BUT THEY WERE SO CLOSE!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Cayley

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Samuel_Henson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airfoil

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Pierpont_Langley

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_brothers

Timeline for the 19th. C:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_flying_machines#The_19th_Century

And finally the clincher was being able to have controlled flight, by means of wing warping in the case of the Wright brothers. Once you have the right wing, enough power and some control, you have an airplane. But somehow it took so long to do it. Even Professor Langley failed to produce results and lost the race to the Wright Bros, in spite of his government financing and expertise.

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RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2017, 06:49:57 am »

From the sounds of it, the model, under very controlled conditions, barely hopped, and the proposed jumbo-jet sized vehicle probably wouldn't have done much better. The designed drawings show a concept that was heading the right direction, but steam engines, with their massive boilers of water, are just not suited for heavier-than-air flight.
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Hurricane Annie
Zeppelin Captain
*****
New Zealand New Zealand



« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2017, 09:39:20 am »

Take a look at this timeline. It really makes you wonder why the idea took so long to take off ( Grin pun intended ).

Sir George Cayley had made great strides in setting down on paper the necessary physics analysis of flight. So it makes sense that others would have access to this information and try. Universally it is though that the weight to power ratio of the steam engine was too low, and that is what prevented self propelled aircraft from taking off. Even internal combustion engines in the years preceding the Wright's flights were too weak, and so Wilbur and Orville had to design their own engine. While many others had the wrong idea about the needed wing area needed to produce enough lift, almost everyone who attempted to design aircraft knew instinctively that a larger area was key.

However besides the lack of power, the theory on cambered wing lift was not always complete or even used, and it took some time for the Wright Bros themselves to tire of studying the existing literature before they set on their own to build a wind tunnel and try airfoil cross sections. The same happened with propellers - all the literature was based on marine propellers.

The problem was not that camber in airfoils was unknown; quite the contrary, Sir George Cayley had experimented with cambered designs and even as far back as DaVinci you will find cambered wings. The problem was that even a flat plate will produce lift at an angle of attack. So people just proceeded to design wings (and propellers) like kites - they work, but not as efficiently as a properly cambered wing, so you could say that a lot of time was wasted in using wrong airfoil configurations -BUT THEY WERE SO CLOSE!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Cayley

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Samuel_Henson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airfoil

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Pierpont_Langley

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_brothers

Timeline for the 19th. C:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_flying_machines#The_19th_Century

And finally the clincher was being able to have controlled flight, by means of wing warping in the case of the Wright brothers. Once you have the right wing, enough power and some control, you have an airplane. But somehow it took so long to do it. Even Professor Langley failed to produce results and lost the race to the Wright Bros, in spite of his government financing and expertise.



Those links take one on a flight of fancy .  They add a layer  to the question of  - why   were aeroplanes not invented  years [or centuries] earlier?

Balloops had their limitations. Airships had obvious risks. Was it engine trouble holding aeroplanes back ?
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 05:45:35 pm by Hurricane Annie » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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Sentisne fortunatum punkus? Veni. Diem meum comple


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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2017, 10:52:08 am »

Engine was a big part of it. But the wing was not refined either. Every bit of efficiency counts. And control in yaw pitch and roll is absolutely necessary to have a viable plane. The Wright Bros. solved all three problems at once.
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morozow
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Russian Federation Russian Federation



WWW
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2017, 02:29:43 pm »

I'd say, decided to practice. In theory and on models that tried to make the researchers to them. But they were trying. But the Wright brothers did.
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Sorry for the errors, rudeness and stupidity. It's not me, this online translator. Really convenient?
Hurricane Annie
Zeppelin Captain
*****
New Zealand New Zealand



« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2017, 06:03:59 pm »



 I looked up yaw on Wikipedia  to see what it means.  Now I an ready to be let loose to design planes .

Have you ever checked this guy out . It is a divisive and contraversial debate in N.Z. " Bamboo  Dick" .  That nick name wasn't used in our school books.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Pearse
https://nzhistory.govt.nz/culture/richard-pearse
http://www.nzedge.com/legends/richard-pearse/
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RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2017, 06:01:07 pm »

The Wright Brothers are usually credited because their plane was the first to have practical flight controls. If it's just about getting into the air, there were a lot of claimants.

In modern aviation, however, there is a minimum height, time, and distance that must be achieved before a craft can officially claim to have flown and that first flight at Kitty Hawk doesn't qualify.

A bit of trivia: the first flight at Kitty Hawk had a distance of 120 feet. A flight later that day achieved a distance of 852 feet. The current U.S. Navy Kitty Hawk Supercarrier aircraft carrier is 1,068.9 feet long.
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Cora Courcelle
Snr. Officer
****
England England



« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2017, 07:51:06 pm »

A bit of trivia: the first flight at Kitty Hawk had a distance of 120 feet. A flight later that day achieved a distance of 852 feet. The current U.S. Navy Kitty Hawk Supercarrier aircraft carrier is 1,068.9 feet long.

That is a truly brilliant bit of trivia - now to think of a way to mention it casually, as part of a conversation.
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You have to tread a fine line between avant-garde surrealism and getting yourself sectioned...
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