TO SAIL ON THE AIR
TWO SCHEMES OF WESTERN MEN
FOR AERIAL NAVIGATION
Flying Machine of Octave Chanute on
the Principles of Bird Flight - Plan of
W.W.McEwen, the Parachutist, to Ascend
on a Mammoth Rocket - He will Go Up
Like a Bullet from a Gun - Outline of His
Theory - Wings Automatically Regulated.
Flying machines are the order of the day. For a number of years there has been considerable
investigation along the line of aerial navigation, but until recently the great
difficulty has been experienced that the flying machines would not fly. Beginning,
however, with Maxim and his adaptation of the aeroplane, it would seem that a new
state of affairs had come to pass, and that the right track had been hit upon at
last. Of late several machines have been brought forward, most of them of the aeroplane
type and nearly all of them give promise of a fair share of ultimate success. Two
of the latest ideas come from the West, and have Chicago as their center of operation.
The design of these has already been described by
THE TRIBUNE. It is the airship invented by Octave Chanute, former President
of the Society of Engineers. In it the principles derived from a study of the flight
of birds, the line along which there seems the greatest likelihood of success in
aerial navigation, have been closely followed, and Mr. Chanute believes that he
has mastered and successfully applied these.
At first glance the Chanute airship looks very much like a ship with
all sails spread. There is a resemblance to a ship, too, in the details. The frame
which supports a man, is of willow and spruce, shaped in a general way like a canoe,
save that there is a greater curvature of deck plane and keel. Made as it is, this
frame is light, though rigid to a degree, and sufficiently strong to support a man
above the average weight.
Extending from the boat shaped frame there are six pairs of wings.
The ribs for these are of willow covered with a light silk, saturated in a preparation
of gum cotton, sufficiently strong to prevent penetration by either water or air.
Each wing is curved on a parabola of one-twelfth of its width of two feet, and each
is seven feet long, thus furnishing a surface of something over fifteen feet square.
The outside ends of the wings are connected with a width of prepared silk, acting
as a keel to the airship.
Wings Automatically Regulated
The chief improvement over other airships, however, is found in the automatic
regulation of the wings, by which they are kept at an angle with the plane of the
air current. If upon exhaustive experiment the regulator acts as it has in the early
trials it is believed that the question of navigating the air has been is settled,
at least such are the claims of the inventor. The propelling of a ship through the
air has never occasioned great trouble; it is the sustaining it and carrying it
in the face of the wind which have bothered the inventors. Large birds will suddenly
turn and sail off in the very teeth of a strong wind without a movement of the wings,
and the obtaining of the same power in an airship has been the dream of inventors.
This Mr. Chanute believes has been accomplished by its automatic regulator.