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Aeronautics

In the last section an attempt has been made to show how, during what was from the design standpoint perhaps the most critical period, order gradually became evident out of chaos, ill-considered ideas dropped out through failure to make good, and, though there was still plenty of room for improvement in details, the bulk of the aeroplanes showed a general similarity in form and conception.

Although it has been little used for aircraft propulsion, the possibilities of the two-stroke cycle engine render some study of it desirable in this brief review of the various types of internal combustion engine applicable both to aeroplanes and airships.

Such information as is given here concerning the Wright Brothers is derived from the two best sources available, namely, the writings of Wilbur Wright himself, and a lecture given by Dr Griffith Brewer to members of the Royal Aeronautical Society. There is no doubt that so far as actual work in connection with aviation accomplished by the two brothers is concerned, Wilbur Wright's own statements are the clearest and best available.

Up to this point an attempt has been made to give some idea of the progress that was made during the eleven years that had elapsed since the days of the Wrights' first flights. Much advance had been made and aeroplanes had settled down, superficially at any rate, into more or less standardised forms in three main types - tractor monoplanes, tractor biplanes, and pusher biplanes.

The principal engines of British, French, and American design used in the war period and since are briefly described under the four distinct types of aero engine; such notable examples as the Rolls-Royce, Sunbeam, and Napier engines have been given special mention, as they embodied - and still embody - all that is best in aero engine practice. So far, however, little has been said about the development of German aero engine design, apart from the early Daimler and other pioneer makes.

It is no derogation of the work accomplished by the Wright Brothers to say that they won the honour of the first power-propelled flights in a heavier-than-air machine only by a short period. In Europe, and especially in France, independent experiment was being conducted by Ferber, by Santos-Dumont, and others, while in England Cody was not far behind the other giants of those days.

Paris, October 21, 1897.

Report on the trials of M. Clement Ader's aviation apparatus.

M. Ader having notified the Minister of War by letter, July 21, 1897, that the Apparatus of Aviation which he had agreed to build under the conditions set forth in the convention of July 24th, 1894, was ready, and therefore requesting that trials be undertaken before a Committee appointed for this purpose as per the decision of August 4th, the Committee was appointed as follows: -

Certain experiments made in England by Mr Phillips seem to have come near robbing the Wright Brothers of the honour of the first flight; notes made by Colonel J. D. Fullerton on the Phillips flying machine show that in 1893 the first machine was built with a length of 25 feet, breadth of 22 feet, and height of 11 feet, the total weight, including a 72 lb. load, being 420 lbs.

Francesco Lana, with his 'aerial ship,' stands as one of the first great exponents of aerostatics; up to the time of the Montgolfier and Charles balloon experiments, aerostatic and aerodynamic research are so inextricably intermingled that it has been thought well to treat of them as one, and thus the work of Lana, Veranzio and his parachute, Guzman's frauds, and the like, have already been sketched.

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