Wright Brothers

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by IanHighfield, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. IanHighfield

    IanHighfield New Member

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    Recently I finished reading a book titled "To Conquer The Air" by American author James Tobin. It chronicles the Wright brothers' efforts at early flight along with describing other countries' similar but unsuccessful attempts of the same era.

    As the Wrights were bike builders it had special appeal to me. The author describes many of the proprietary machines and tools the Wrights invented along with how they work. It seems bike building was ideally suited to early aeroplanes. Combining those skills with superior imaginations and it's no wonder the Wrights won out. Great book.

    After reading this book I found a disc about the first Wright Flyer. American public broadcasting filmed a remake of the early bi-plane using as close to original materials and genuine diagrams made by the Wrights. They examined the remaining Wright aircraft too and set about to make a reproduction to fly.

    And they failed! This was remarkable considering how easy it is to make an ultra-light of modern material and with modern knowledge. But this crew of builders that included aircraft pilots and modern builders could not make a Wright Flyer, fly. It bounced along the ground a bit, skidded sideways and bounced again, but failed to take to the air like in the old black and white movies of Orville circling a pasture in Ohio.

    This I found heartening. I'd like to think the Wrights had some magic you can't get anymore.

    Ian
     
  2. Grape Ape

    Grape Ape Younger than Hack Tavern Member

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    It could be an issue like the Bumble Bee. Based on all knowledge of flight the Bumble Bee can't fly. It's body is to big compared to it's wing area. It's wings are shaped wrong and are to weak to support it in flight. But the Bumble Bee doesn't know all that so it flies anyway. Maybe the Wright brothers didn't know that the plane shouldn't fly so they went out and flew it. Maybe it wasn't magic but just ignorance that got the thing in the air. The modern day pilots and builders had it in their heads that the design was not as it should be. They may not have expressed it but they felt it so in the end the nagging thoughts kept it on the ground.
     

  3. IanHighfield

    IanHighfield New Member

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    There's magic in believing. You might be on to something.
     
  4. Nigal

    Nigal YAY BAIKS! Tavern Member

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    You need to come visit me Ian. I live about 30 minutes away from Orville and Wilber's original bike shop. Strangely though, I have yet to go there. Just this passed fall they crashed the reproduction Flyer. They have a club you can join to support the Wright B Flyer and if you give a certain dollar amount they give you a ride. (No thanks!)
     
  5. Doohickie

    Doohickie Older than Hack

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    That's because they used modern knowledge with old materials. Take some vintage bike nuts and let them try to build one; I bet it would fly.
     
  6. IanHighfield

    IanHighfield New Member

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    Program said they took pains to get the wing camber and all foil shapes exactly correct to originals. One thing that was mentioned was the Wright's engine may have produced up to 50% more power than they (the Wrights) thought at the time. Whatever HP method of test in 1903-07 may have been flawed. These modern builders did not try to run or test an actual Wright engine. All HP ratings on their modern motor were limited to what the Wright's claimed theirs to be.

    The Wright's were probably wrong. They must have had a stronger engine than they thought. That would make sense to me. Modern man knows much more than the Wrights did then. I really think they got the HP wrong. (too little)

    This is not romantic but it makes sense.
     
  7. funetical

    funetical Slowin it up.

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    It would also make sense that the Wright's would have altered there plans without notation as a problem occurred. Fine tuning I believe it's called.