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A History of Aeronautics by Marsh and Vivian

Contemporary with Castel was Professor Forlanini


la Landelle's work, already mentioned, was carried on a few years later by another Frenchman, Castel, who constructed a machine with eight propellers arranged in two fours and driven by a compressed air motor or engine. The model with which Castel experimented had a total weight of only 49 lbs.; it rose in the air and smashed itself by driving against a wall, and the inventor does not seem to have proceeded further. Contemporary with Castel was Professor Forlanini, whose design was for a machine very similar to de la Landelle's, with two superposed screws. This machine ranks as the second on the helicopter principle to achieve flight; it remained in the air for no less than the third of a minute in one of its trials.

Later experimenters in this direction were Kress, a German; Professor Wellner, an Austrian; and W. R. Kimball, an American. Kress, like most Germans, set to the development of an idea which others had originated; he followed de la Landelle and Forlanini by fitting two superposed propellers revolving in opposite directions, and with this machine he achieved good results as regards horse-power to weight; Kimball, it appears, did not get beyond the rubber-driven model stage, and any success he may have achieved was modified by the theory enunciated by Berriman and quoted above.

Comparing these two schools of thought, the helicopter and bird-flight schools, it appears that the latter has the greater

chance of eventual success--that is, if either should ever come into competition with the aeroplane as effective means of flight. So far, the aeroplane holds the field, but the whole science of flight is so new and so full of unexpected developments that this is no reason for assuming that other means may not give equal effect, when money and brains are diverted from the driven plane to a closer imitation of natural flight.

Reverting from non-success to success, from consideration of the two methods mentioned above to the direction in which practical flight has been achieved, it is to be noted that between the time of Le Bris, Stringfellow, and their contemporaries, and the nineties of last century, there was much plodding work carried out with little visible result, more especially so far as English students were concerned. Among the incidents of those years is one of the most pathetic tragedies in the whole history of aviation, that of Alphonse Penaud, who, in his thirty years of life, condensed the experience of his predecessors and combined it with his own genius to state in a published patent what the aeroplane of to-day should be. Consider the following abstract of Penaud's design as published in his patent of 1876, and comparison of this with the aeroplane that now exists will show very few divergences except for those forced on the inventor by the fact that the internal combustion engine had not then developed. The double surfaced planes were to be built with wooden ribs and arranged with a slight dihedral angle; there was to be a large aspect ratio and the wings were cambered as in Stringfellow's later models. Provision was made for warping the wings while in flight, and the trailing edges were so designed as to be capable of upward twist while the machine was in the air. The planes were to be placed above the car, and provision was even made for a glass wind-screen to give protection to the pilot during flight. Steering was to be accomplished by means of lateral and vertical planes forming a tail; these controlled by a single lever corresponding to the 'joy stick' of the present day plane.

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