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A History of Aeronautics by Marsh and Vivian

The Paris Aero Salon of December


The

Paris Aero Salon of December, 1913, had been remarkable chiefly for the large number of machines of which the chassis and bodywork had been constructed of steel-tubing; for the excess of monoplanes over biplanes; and (in the latter) predominance of 'pusher' machines (with propeller in rear of the main planes) compared with the growing British preference for 'tractors' (with air screw in front). Incidentally, the Maurice Farman, the last relic of the old type box-kite with elevator in front appeared shorn of this prefix, and became known as the 'short-horn' in contradistinction to its front-elevatored predecessor which, owing to its general reliability and easy flying capabilities, had long been affectionately called the 'mechanical cow.' The 1913 Salon also saw some lingering attempts at attaining automatic stability by pendulum and other freak devices.

Apart from the appearance of 'R.E.1,' perhaps the most notable development towards the end of 1913 was the appearance of the Sopwith 'Tabloid 'tractor biplane. This single-seater machine, evolved from the two-seater previously referred to, fitted with a Gnome engine of 80 horse-power, had the, for those days, remarkable speed of 92 miles an hour; while a still more notable feature was that it could remain in level flight at not more than 37 miles per hour. This machine is of particular importance because it was the prototype and forerunner of the successive designs of single-seater scout fighting

machines which were used so extensively from 1914 to 1918. It was also probably the first machine to be capable of reaching a height of 1,000 feet within one minute. It was closely followed by the 'Bristol Bullet,' which was exhibited at the Olympia Aero Show of March, 1914. This last pre-war show was mainly remarkable for the good workmanship displayed--rather than for any distinct advance in design. In fact, there was a notable diversity in the types displayed, but in detailed design considerable improvements were to be seen, such as the general adoption of stranded steel cable in place of piano wire for the mail bracing.

IV. THE WAR PERIOD

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. Through the application of the results of experiments with models in wind tunnels to full-scale machines, considerable improvements had been made in the design of wing sections, which had greatly increased the efficiency of aeroplanes by raising the amount of 'lift' obtained from the wing compared with the 'drag' (or resistance to forward motion) which the same wing would cause. In the same way the shape of bodies, interplane struts, etc., had been


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