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  • Wright Flyer III replica crashes

    A pilot flying a replica of the Wright brothers' 1905 Wright Flyer III crashed and was injured this morning at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.




  • #2
    In 2003, a group in suburban Chicago built a replica of the Wright Flyer to commemorate the centennial of flight. What I found amazing was the absolute attention to detail the Wright Brothers demonstrated in building their aircraft. While it may be debatable among some, if the Wright Brothers were the first to achieve heavier-than-air controlled flight, the replica did confirm that they developed the underlying theories for controllable flight.

    The 1903 Wright Flyer is aesthetic exercise in functionalism. The replica now hangs in Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.


    That said, as this unfortunate accident has proved, early aviation was dangerous and very experimental. Speedy recovers to the pilot.

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    • #3
      I visited the hangar where they are building a new replica called the Silver Bird ( N453WB ). It is supposed to do a test flight on January 2010.



      The Silver One

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      • #4
        the Wright flyer was designed to be somewhat survivable. Look where the engine is situated -off to one side - the pilot sits off to the opposite side for balance. In a crash the engine (hopefully) does not hit the pilot.

        They also building a replica in Los Angeles area but don't know the current status
        http://www.wrightflyer.org/Papers/AI..._1978-2008.pdf

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        • #5
          What I find amazing about the Wrights is that it takes 8 hours to learn how to solo a modern, stable airplane, while they had to fly their unstable airplane (elevator on the front) with zero training!

          AND, Modern, trained pilots have not done all that great flying Wright-Flier replicas either!!!!!!

          It's also still a little strange that the elevator is up there given all their fooling around with wind tunnels and models, and that I'm pretty sure that "conventional tails" had been used on numerous models and gliders, (as well as arrows back to pre-recorded history!)
          Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 3WE View Post
            ................................It's also still a little strange that the elevator is up there given all their fooling around with wind tunnels and models, and that I'm pretty sure that "conventional tails" had been used on numerous models and gliders, (as well as arrows back to pre-recorded history!)
            For some reason placing the elevator at the front works well for very slow speed aircraft - the human powered Gossamer Condor for example.
            http://www.donaldmonroe.com/gallery/...e=gc101_09.jpg
            Perhaps it also gives the pilot an indication of angle of attack relative to the horizon.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 3WE View Post
              It's also still a little strange that the elevator is up there given all their fooling around with wind tunnels and models, and that I'm pretty sure that "conventional tails" had been used on numerous models and gliders, (as well as arrows back to pre-recorded history!)
              The relationship between equilibrium, stability and control was not well understood back then. Prior attempts of flight had failed due to insufficient control, so the Wright brothers worked a lot on control even at the expense of stability (the Wright flier was actually unstable). For example, they were the first ones to put a roll control device (wing twisting).

              --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
              --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Highkeas View Post
                ....elevator at the front works well for very slow speed aircraft - the human powered Gossamer Condor for example.

                Perhaps it also gives the pilot an indication of angle of attack relative to the horizon.
                I don't think "AOA-indication" is a big reason, nor that it works "better" at a slow speed.

                Instead, I think a major factor is that a front-mounted pitch control can generate lift, while a traditional rear-mounted h-stab/elevator pushes down and forces the wing to have to generate even more lift.

                Given that the pedal-plane had to be an exercise in "incredible/ridiculous" energy effeciency, I think they decided that a front-mounted UPlift surface was better than a rear-mounted DOWNlift surface.

                Back to the wright flier- with it's 12-hp engine, I think they may also have been in a SERIOUS effeciency battle and felt a front-lifter was better.

                But given the pictures I've seen of the Wright flier and the Gossamer condor, yes, the slow speed allows the pilot to stay ahead of the pitch instability.....Both aircraft seem to porpise like crazy, but at a reasonably slow pitch rate and again, pilot stays ahead.

                So it's not "better" for slow speed, but slow speed "allows it" to work without the plane going out of control.
                Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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                • #9
                  I though I'd mention that the fact that the elevator is ahead of the wing has NOTHING to do with the stability of the airplane (as Rutan proved a dozen of times).

                  Take a Cessna 152, load it to put the CG aft enough, and it will be unstable. Take the Wright Flyer, put the CG forward enough, and it'll be stable.

                  I also thought I'd mention that a tail mounted stabilizer and elevator does not necessarily needs to lift down for the plane to be in equilibrium, or stable, or controllable.

                  And finally I thought I'd mention that, stability put at a side, the most efficient thing you can do with the stabilizer/elevator is not to make it lift down (as 3WE explained), but not to make it lift up either. You already have the parasite drag of the stabilizer/elevator. Why add any induced drag? Sure, if it's lifting up then that lift is removed from the main wing which then reduces it's own induced drag, but believe me that the net effect is more drag. Why? Simple, the wing is SPECIFICALLY designed to lift up with minimum drag. The tail isn't. So better let the wing do what it's designed to do efficiently rather than having something else (like the tail or the fuselage) do it inefficiently.

                  --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                  --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
                    I though I'd mention that the fact that the elevator is ahead of the wing has NOTHING to do with the stability of the airplane......
                    "Nothing" is a pretty severe term.

                    With a "traditional" airplane "the center" of all of your airfoils are behind the CG, so it's "always" (ok, almost always) going to naturally point the nose into the wind.

                    That strikes me as being a little more inherently stable than having a control surface (with a lot of leverage no less) ahead of the CG.

                    Not that Rutan (and others) couldn't tweak all this to achieve something stable.....but I think there's something to the traditional configuration and its stability that a canard doesn't have.
                    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 3WE View Post
                      "Nothing" is a pretty severe term.

                      With a "traditional" airplane "the center" of all of your airfoils are behind the CG, so it's "always" (ok, almost always) going to naturally point the nose into the wind.

                      That strikes me as being a little more inherently stable than having a control surface (with a lot of leverage no less) ahead of the CG.

                      Not that Rutan (and others) couldn't tweak all this to achieve something stable.....but I think there's something to the traditional configuration and its stability that a canard doesn't have.
                      Ok, make that "nothing" a "little" if that makes you feel better. I guess if you take a Cessna 152, remove the horizontal tail and bolt it to the engine mount, the plane will become unstable.

                      In the "traditional" airplane the "center" of the wing is not always (and many times isn't) behind of the CG, so the wing has an unstabilizing effect which is of course more than compensated by the stabilizing effect of the tail.

                      Now, please think of a canard airplane as a traditional configuration airplane with a very small wing and a very large stabilizer, and suddenly it looks very stable.

                      Any airplane has an aerodynamic center (which is the point about which the aerodynamic pitching moment doesn't change with the angle of attack). Put the CG ahead of that and the plane is stable. Put the CG aft and it's unstable.

                      (Incidentally, that brings us back to the stability disucssion in the AF thread: For an airplane to be stable the CG must be ahead of the aerodynamic center of the whole airplane and not -or not necesarily- ahead of any center of pressure or center of lift)

                      --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                      --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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