A NEW FLYING MACHINE.
A novel flying machine has just been completed by Mr. Gustave Whitehead, of Bridgeport, Conn., and is now ready for the preliminary trials. Several experiments have been made, but as yet no free flights have been attempted. The machine is built after the model of a bird or bat. The body is 16 feet long and measures 21/2 feet at its greatest width and is 3 feet deep. It is well stayed with wooden ribs and braced with steel wires and covered with canvas which is tightly stretched over the frame. Four wheels, each one foot in diameter, support it while it stands on the ground.
The front wheels are connected to a 10 horse power engine to get up speed on the ground, and the rear wheels are mounted like casters so that they can be steered by the aeronaut.
On either side of the body are large aeroplanes, covered with silk and con-cave on the underside, which give the machine the appearance of a bird in flight. The ribs are bamboo poles, and are braced with steel wires. The wings are so arranged that they can be folded up. The 10-foot rudder, which corresponds to the tail of a bird, can also be folded up and can be moved up and down, so as to steer the machine on its horizontal course. A mast and bowsprit serve to hold all the parts in their proper relation.
In front of the wings and across the body is a double compound engine of 20 horse power, which drives a pair of propellers in opposite directions, the idea being to run the machine on the ground by means of the lower engine until it has the necessary speed to rise from the ground. Then the upper engine actuates the propellers so as to cause the machine to progress through the air to make it rise on its aeroplanes. The wings are immovable and resemble the outstretched wings of a soaring bird. The steering will be done by running one propeller faster than the other in a way analogous to the way in which an ocean steamer having twin screws can be turned, a special aeroplane being provided to maintain longitudinal and trans-verse stability.
The lower engine is of 10 horse power, and weighs 22 pounds. The diameter of the cylinder is 3 7-16 inches by 8 inches stroke. The upper engine is a double compound cylinder, the diameters being 2¼ and 3 7-16 inches with a 7-inch stroke. The engine weighs 35 pounds, and calcium carbide is used to develop pressure by means of explosions. The propellers weigh 12 pounds, and are 6 feet in diameter, with a projected blade surface of 4 square feet. With a draw-bar test, the upper engine being run at full speed, the dead pull was 365 pounds. The weight of the body and wheels is 45 pounds. The wings and tail have 450 square feet of supporting surface, and the weight is 35 pounds.
Source: Scientific American June 8, 1901 page 357