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Some aeronautical experiments. Experiments in soaring flight. Journal issues.
1901-1903. Invention of the Airplane Wright, Wilbur (1867-1912). (1) Some aeronautical experiments. In Journal of the Western Society of Engineers 6 (1901): 489-510. (2) Experiments and observations in soaring flight. In Journal of the Western Society of Engineers 8 (1903): 400-417. Together two journal volumes. 222 x 145 mm. Library buckram, stamp of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on lower edge of 1903 volume. Very good apart from loose leaf in 1901 volume (not related to the Wright article). First Editions, journal issues. The first paper, â??Some aeronautical experiments,â? was the Wright brothersâ?? first publication on aeronautics, and the work that first made their experiments with motorless gliders known to the world. The paper describes the brothersâ?? progress over three seasons of glider flight, during which they mastered the art of flight control and solved the problem of wing warp drag by the addition of a vertical rear rudder. Wright presented this paper to the Western Society of Engineers at the urging of Octave Chanute, who was to a large degree responsible for encouraging the Wright brothersâ?? early work; the paper is prefaced by some remarks by Chanute discussing the possibility of motorized flight using a new lightweight steam or gas engine. Wrightâ??s second paper, â??Experiments and observations in soaring flight,â? includes the first account of his and Orvilleâ??s attempts with motorized gliders. The brothers made their first powered flight (852 feet in 59 seconds) on 17 December 1903, six months after this report was read before the Western Society of Engineers. Of the work described in their second paper Wilbur later testified in 1912: â??This was the first time in the history of the world that lateral balance had been achieved by adjusting wing tips to respectively different angles of incidence on the right and left sides. It was also the first time that a vertical vane had been used in combination with wing tips, adjustable to respectively different angles of incidence, in balancing and steering an aeroplane . . .. We were the first to functionally employ a movable vertical tail in a flying aeroplane. We were the first to employ wings adjustable to respectively different angles of incidence in a flying aeroplane. We were the first to use the two in combination in a flying aeroplaneâ? (quoted in Freudenthal, Flight into History: The Wright Brothers and the Air Age, p. 60). These were the key discoveries made by the Wrights. When they applied for a patent on their work it was on their system of control and stability in a glider. Their key patent did not concern motorized airplanes. Dibner 185. Gibbs-Smith, The Invention of the Aeroplane 1799-1909, pp. 37-40; 46-47. Norman 2266, 2267 (offprint issues).
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