JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 333
I’m not sure why the Wright Brothers’ experimental gliding flight was so much in competition with other pressing scientific news of the day that reports on their progress was relegated to the middle of this issuer of Scientific American for 22 February 1902. The report is sandwiched in between “Winter Railroading in
though the brothers had been experimenting with gliding flight at Kill Devil
since 1900, reports of their activities had been under-reported, if popularly
reported at all. And this seems to have
suited them—they seemed not to need publicity, or recognition. After all, they had made incomparable strides
since they first became interested in flight in 1896 following the failure of Samuel
Langley and the
This report for February seems to be the earliest of the 1902 flights in North Carolina, with the principle difference (from what I can see) is that this earlier glider didn’t yet have a tail which would make an appearance a little latter in the year (followed by a very critical discovery on the need for the maneuverability of the tail.) It also seems that the 1902 gliders were as different from the 1901 gliders as the 1903 glider/plane would be from the 1902 model.
Still, given the competing news of the day, and the importance of the Wrights’ experiments, and the amount of interest in flight at this time, it is a little mysterious to me why the report on their sandy accomplishments got so gobbled up in the nonchalant scientific bric-a--brac of 1902.
Since this is outside my area I quote liberally from the US Commission on the Centennial of Flight for a more exact description of the difference of the gliders between 1901 and 1902:
“Their 1902 glider had a new wing with a shallow camber and high aspect ratio. It was a major departure from their earlier machines. It had roughly the same wing surface area as the 1901 machine, but the similarities ended there. The wingspan was ten feet (three meters) longer and the chord two feet (0.6 meter) shorter than the old machine, making the glider look larger and more graceful. It had an overall length of 16 feet (5 meters) and weighed 112 pounds (51 kilograms). The wing camber followed a shallow parabolic curve, and the elevator was extended farther out in front of the pilot. This gave it more leverage, which allowed better control. The 1902 glider also had a new rudder that consisted of two fixed vertical surfaces located behind the aircraft . Wilbur and Orville calculated that these would help prevent the skidding that had occurred when they warped the wings.”
And the following on the 1902 flights from
And the following on the 1902 flights fromOrville Wright “How We Made the First Flight”:
“The flights of the 1902 glider had demonstrated the efficiency of our system for maintaining equilibrium, and also the accuracy of the laboratory work upon which the design of the glider was based. We then felt that we were prepared to calculate in advan ce the performance of machines with a degree of accuracy that had never been possible with the data and tables possessed by our predecessors. Before leaving camp in 1902 we were already at work on the general design of a new machine which we proposed to propel with a motor