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    The Nation's Library.The outstanding feature of the NATION'S LIBRARYis specialised information by the most capable and com-

    petent authorities, and every subject dealt with isbrought right up to the point of its relationship to modernlife and thought.Nothing obsolete finds a place in this series; eachbook provides ample material for thought in its particular

    direction and presents knowledge in its most moderndress.The volumes already issued or in preparationinclude I-


    SCHUSTER, M.A. (Oxon.), D.Sc., Fellow of NewCollege, Oxford, sometime Galton Research Fellowin National Eugenics at the University of London.

    THE PRACTICAL SIDE OF SMALL HOLDINGS.JAMES LONG, Member of Departmental Committeeon Small Holdings.MODERN VIEWS ON EDUCATION. THISELTONMARK, B.Sc., D.Lit., Lecturer on Education inthe University of Manchester.

    THE CASE FOR RAILWAY NATIONALISATION.EMIL DAVIES (Chairman Railway NationalisationSociety).


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    GREENWOOD, M.P., Barrister-at-Law.A HISTORY OF TRUSTS. M. E. HIRST, M.A. (Birm.),sometime Scholar of Newnham College, Cambridge.With an Introduction by F. W. HIRST, Editor ofThe Economist.THE CASE AGAINST RAILWAY NATIONALISA-

    TION. EDWIN A. PRATT, Author of AmericanRailways.

    THE PRINCIPLES OF EVOLUTION. JOSEPHMcCABE, Author of The Story of Evolution, TheEvolution of Mind, etc.

    MODERN COMMERCE: A SURVEY. H. H.BASSETT, Editor Financial Review of Reviews.



    BURNS. Rev. LAUCHLAN MACLEAN WATT, M.A.,B.D., F.R.S.E., F.S.A. (Scot.).

    OIL FUEL. VIVIAN B. LEWES, F.I.C., F.C.S., Professorof Chemistry at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

    CO-OPERATION AND CO-PARTNERSHIP. LANG-FORD LOVELL PRICE, M.A., Fellow and Treasurerof Oriel College, Oxford, Reader in Economic Historyin the University of Oxford.


    THE STAR WORLD. A. C. DE LA C. CROMMEUN,B.A., D.Sc. (Oxon.), Assistant at Royal Observatory,

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    PREFACESEVERAL courses are open to one who writesa book about flying. One can make ittechnical, for instance, and so appeal merelyto the experts. In this way, one caters fora very limited audience. Or one can makeit semi-technical, and endeavour to appealto experts and to the ordinary individual aswell. This I do not regard as a very happycompromise. Or the book may be madefrankly non-technical, and so bid for theinterest of all those readers who desire aknowledge of flying, but who do not wishany large amount of technical information.From this third point of view I havewritten my book; and I hope that just theordinary individual, who does not want tobe bothered by stacks of facts and rows offigures, will find something in its pages thatwill really interest him.

    If he does, I shall feel that my work hasbeen amply repaid.CLAUDE GRAHAME-WHITE.LONDON, 1912.

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    I. Sir George Cayley Henson and StringfellowStringfellow's steam-driven model monoplaneFormation of the Aeronautical Society . . 18II. Phillips's model aeroplane Otto Lilienthalcommences his tests The Elienthal glider Ader'sAvion Sir Hiram Maxim's big machine . . 22III. Flapping-wing machines Pilcher's work inEngland Lilienthal's death Chanute, Ferber, andBleriot The Wright Brothers begin their tests . 29IV- First power-driven flights The Wrights'triumph Announcement of their success in Eng-land How they negotiated with France Theirneed of a business manager Wasting precioustime Professor Montgomery's novel gliding tests 89V. -Successes in France Santos Dumont's firstflights Henry Farman's great triumphs Hismile flight at Issy The Wrights at last emergefrom their obscurity Wilbur Wright comes toFrance His sensational flying Two hours in theair 47


    I. The great flying season of 1909 The cross-Channel flight Latham's bad luck Bleriot'ssuccess How his feat stimulated aviation Progressin France The wonderful Rheims meeting . 55II. More personalities Bleriot Henry Farman'snew biplane The Gnome motor Its superiorityover other engines Farman's record at Rheims . 62III. Latham's daring How Paulhan began to flyHis subsequent success Rougier and DelagrangeHow 1909 ended English successes . . 68IV. The flying season of 1910 Growth of cross-

    country flying The flight from London to Man-chester Public interest in aviation The flyingschools < 73

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    8 CONTENTSMBV. Some famous flights over land and sea A doublecross-Channel trip 350 miles across country

    Daring high flights From England to Irelandby aeroplane , . . . . . .77VI. Fine flying in France From Paris to Brusselsand back The Gordon-Bennett air race Anawkward predicament M. Leblanc's wonderfulescape High-flying extraordinary The 4000cross-Channel prize A tragedy of the sea . . 81VII. The air-races of 1911 The second Daily Mail10,000 prize The big contests in France 'Beau-mont' and Vedrines Why 'Beaumont' was sosuccessful What these races proved . . 85


    AEROPLANES.I. How does an aeroplane support itself in the air?Some simple explanations What Nature teachesus by means of the bird The curved wing . . 88II. How an aeroplane wing exercises lifting powerThe dual effect of a properly curved plane Howthe 'lift' of a plane is calculated . . .91III. The Wright biplane Advantages of a biplanetype of machine The aeroplane propeller Howthe Wright machine was controlled Its launchingmechanism Advantages of a system of runningwheels 98IV. The Voisin biplane Constructional detailsThe question of using one or two propellers Metalv. wood in propeller construction The perils ofpropeller breakage Wood the favourite material 97V. The Voisin landing-gear How the biplane wascontrolled Its sideway balancing The fitting ofvertical balancing planes Their disadvantagesEngine troubles 101VI. The Bleriot monoplane Its diminutive sizeThe small lifting planes Its low-powered engineControl of the machine The landing-gearThe monoplane's portability Its success whenfitted with a fifty horse-power Gnome . . 104VII. The Antoinette monoplane Its beauty inflight Comparison with the Bleriot Its intricatewing construction Its featherweight engineThe landing-chassis and control Problem of theAntoinette's lack of permanent success . .107

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    CONTENTS 9PACKVIII. The Farman biplane Details of constructionIts method of control Use of 'ailerons,' or

    balancing planes The Farman landing-gearThe pilot's levers 113IX. The Curtiss biplane A light, racing-type air-craft Its method of control A novelty in ' aileron'operation The action described . . .118


    I. Early fallacies concerning the alleged difficulty ofpiloting an aeroplane The Wright Brothers' firstpupilsNo rare qualifications needed to make apilot, but caution and judgment always necessaryPoints to remember 119

    II. The choice of a flying school Importance of alarge, smooth-surfaced aerodrome Need forplenty of machines and good instructors The ques-tion of what machine to learn to fly Advantagesof the biplane 122III. Special instructional aeroplanes A system ofdual control How it is operated A pupil's firststage Lessons in aeroplane and engine constructionThe novice's first flights The vol plant, . . 125IV. Mistakes to avoid in the vol plan6 A ' pancake 'landing Some amusing incidents The forgetfulpupil The man with abnormal presence of mind 129

    V. The actual controlling of a machine What thenovice has to learn The need for good 'hands'Tendency to overdo the controlling actions'Switchbacking' in the air A danger in starting . 133VI. Mistake of learning to fly in a hurry Value of'rolling' practice Time necessary for a course oftraining The question of cost .... 136VII. The certificate of proficiency How it is gained

    Flights necessary, and the rules concerningthem Distance, altitude, and landing testsFinal advice for the would-be airman . . 140FIFTH SECTION


    I. Popular belief in the perils of flying Comparisonswith the early days of trains and motor-carsNeed to approach the question of aeroplane acci-dents from a logical point of view . . . 144

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    10 CONTENTS MMII. The temperament of the airman Its effect uponthe risk of accident Public misapprehensionHow it arose Some striking statistics . . 147III. One of the gravest risks in flying What ananalysis proved Dangers of hasty increases in

    flying speed Inexperienced constructors Diffi-culties of the early builders The margin of safety 151IV. Risks of early-type high-speed monoplanesLessons the builders have learned Fluctuatingwinds the airman's foes Peril of abnormally stronggusts . . 155V. How the chief risks of flying may be eliminatedNeed for 'airworthy* machines The growth ofthe pilot's skill Each flight teaches some lessonThe human element in flying No 'fool-proofaeroplanes ....... 159VI. Engine failure and the risks of flying Thegliding powers of a machine An example Enginestoppage over a crowded centre What the pilot does 163VII. Distances aeroplanes will glide Few bad acci-dents through engine failure Danger of low fly-ing Need for appreciable altitudes when crossingbad country The two-engined biplane . .160VIII. Final conclusions A summary of risks, andmeans for their prevention Aerial navigation notessentially dangerous The metal-built, powerfully-engined machine ...... 170


    PROBLEMS IT PRESENTS.I. The new weapon France's enthusiasm Theorganisation of an air-fleet The question of train-

    ing, transport, and repairs .... 172II. The value of the air-scout How he can piercethe 'fog of war' Position of reconnaissance beforethe advent of the aeroplane What Napoleon wroteTypes of scouting aircraft Question of theobserver's outlook ...... 175III. Work of the air-scout described Rapidity of

    an aerial reconnaissance How the airmen maketheir notes An actual example A French officer-airman's report after an early-morning flight . 178

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    IV. The French . ,air-fleet German activitiesStatistics of other nations What Britain is doingi Stinting of funds for aerial work Our positionas regards machines and men Arousing publicopinion What is needed in future policy . 182V. Checkmating the air-scout Construction ofspecial artillery Problem of the aeroplane's vulner-ability to land fire The fighting aeroplane Itsuse in war . . . . . . . 186

    VI. Problem of aerial fighting The aeroplane'destroyer' How it will operate Protecting theair-scout The skill and nerve required to handlefighting aeroplanes ...... 190VII. Features of the war machine as set down byexperts The importance of speed How an aero-plane's pace may be varied Value of flexibilityin speed . . 194VIII. -Quick rising Its value in a military machineSome examples Need for an efficient landing-chassis An exacting test The question of start-ing a military aeroplane ..... 199IX. The naval aeroplane What it can accomplishSea scouting from shore stations Britain's needThe defensive aeroplane Type of machine re-quired An air-scout for use on the high seas . 202X. The aeroplane as an instrument of destructionAttacks upon land forces and positions The useof large numbers of offensive machines Thedamage that could be done Organisation the secretof success 208


    THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ' WATER-PLANE ?I. Increased comfort for pilot and passengerlatest typeBiplanes which copy monoplane design . . 212Covered-in cabins The latest type Farman

    II. More powerful aeroplanes 500 horse-powermachines now being designed Heavy loadscarried Increase in biplane speed Growing prac-ticability of machines . . . . .210III. Wind resistance How it is reduced in modern-type machines Aeroplanes at the Paris ShowThe racing monoplane The building of 'water-planes' The new sport ..... 220

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    12 CONTENTSPAGaIV. Problems of the water-plane The sea-going'craft Large-sized machines in contemplationThe ideal of the flying boat . . . .223


    I. Complexities of the subject Difficulties of theprophet Some salient facts Aeroplane passenger-carrying ........ 228

    II. Mail-carrying aeroplanes Difficulty of flying ata precisely prearranged hour What the presenttype machine will do How an airman seizes afavourable opportunity for flight The value ofspeed 232III. An instance of quick transit by aeroplaneQuestions of reliability What will be required ofthe commercial machine The manufacturer'soptimism ....... 230IV. Sending goods by air mail Special 'fares' foraeroplane passengers London to Paris by airsurveying by aeroplane Other possibilities forcommercial machines Question of the cost ofair transit . 240


    SHIPSI. The insistent demand for speed Can train and

    steamship satisfy this demand? The opportunityof the aeroplane 150 miles an hour by air . . 245II. Laws of the air Problems of international

    flights Registration of aircraft The ownershipof the air Conflicting opinions . . . 250III. The question of the airship Its early difficultiesand failures Recent successes What the airshipcan now do Its present importance Airship v.aeroplane ....... 254

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    No story is more fascinating than that whichtells how men after centuries of unavailingeffort learned to conquer the air. It hasbeen the most romantic quest imaginable;and the tale is told here so that a grasp ofthe essential facts about flying may be ob-tained, the subsequent sections of the bookbeing thus rendered easier of comprehension.When one studies this story of the con-quest of the air a particularly interestingfact emerges from all the others. It is this :England, which has certainly played noheroic part in the development of the aero-plane, might have led the way, if only shehad shown enthusiasm and purpose. Justover a hundred years ago, when men all

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    14 AVIATIONover the world were still dreaming about theconquest of the air, an Englishman workedout plans for an aeroplane; and when to-daywe look back upon this man's ideas, we areamazed. What he did, all these years ago,with no practical data to go upon, was toindicate the building of a machine which,in many salient respects, actually anticipatedthe monoplane as it is flown at the presenttime. This Englishman was Sir George Cayley,whose name will certainly never be forgottenby those who study the problems of flight.A very accomplished engineer, he turnedhis attention to this question of flying,and soon obtained a wonderful grasp of themain points at issue.

    In the year 1809 he gave a very remarkablelecture before the Institute of Civil Engineers;and he also contributed articles, upon theconstruction of aircraft, to the technicaljournals which existed at this time. Whatmade his ideas so noteworthy was thepractical form they took, as well as the reallyastonishing way in which he foreshadowedwhat aeroplane constructors are doing now.For instance, he advocated the use of

    inclined lifting planes in the building of anaeroplane ; and to-day as I shall explain

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    AVIATION 15later the use of a curve, or 'camber,'upon the planes we use is an all-importantfeature of their construction. Not only this,but Sir George Cayley was able to indicatejust the type of aeroplane propeller we arenow fitting to our machines. Consideringthat he worked out all his ideas without helpof any kind, we should be proud that anEnglish engineer, a hundred years ago, shouldhave been able to outline correctly twoessential features of the modern aeroplane.Why did not he make a machine, and get

    it to fly? The question is an obvious one;and the reply is equally obvious. If SirGeorge Cayley had built his aeroplane, hewould have had no satisfactory motive powerwith which to make it fly. In order to makean aeroplane fly you must have a light petrolmotor; and there were no such motors inSir George Cayley's day. This much, indeed,needs to be clearly understood. For manyyears before men actually flew, excellentdesigns for aeroplanes were procurable. Butno attempt at flight could be really successfuluntil the petrol motor extraordinarily lightand yet developing ample power came readyto the hand of man.

    All that Sir could

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    16 AVIATIONwas to indicate how it might be possible touse some form of steam-engine in drivingaeroplanes; but the weight of this form ofmotive power has always been against it inregard to its use upon aircraft. However,although he could not carry his designs toany practical issue, Sir George Cayley didpioneer work of the utmost value; and yearsafterwards, the Wright brothers the greatconquerors of the air read all he had written,with the utmost interest, before they them-selves began to plan an aeroplane thatactually flew. Thus these modern navigatorsof the air did honour to the Englishman who,a hundred years ago, designed aeroplanes,but had not the engine with which to makethem fly.At the time he wrote and spoke, Sir GeorgeCayley's ideas about flying created muchinterest; but nothing practical came of hisarticles or lectures. There remained theinsurmountable difficulty of finding somethingwith which to drive the aeroplane after itwas built ; so the years went on, and nothingwas done. But what Sir George Cayley hadwritten was not lost to mankind, as I havealready indicated. Nor is it surprising, inview of the clearness of his ideas, that other

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    AVIATION 17enthusiasts should have endeavoured to carryon his work where he left off.

    In 1842, for instance, two very patientand painstaking experimenters, Henson andStringfellow, were busy with plans for aero-planes, founded upon Sir George Cayley'sconclusions. They did more than he haddone that is to say, in the way of practicalwork because they built a very remarkablemodel, embodying their ideas of what anaeroplane should be.

    This model aircraft was not allowed to bebroken up, or lost; it is in existence to thepresent day, and can be seen in the Victoriaand Albert Museum. Glanced at casually,it gives one the impression that it is very likethe famous Antoinette monoplane, which thelate Mr Hubert Latham was able to fly sofinely. It has two wide-spread wings, a boat-like body, and a large tail. For a modelmade so long ago as 1842, it was a remarkableprediction of what the full-sized, practicalaeroplane would ultimately be.

    But, although their model was extremelyinteresting, Henson and Stringfellow proceededno further, at this time, than the constructionof this elementary piece of apparatus. Theydiscussed the fitting of a to

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    18 AVIATIONtheir model, it is true, but nothing came of it.At least, nothing did at the moment ; butStringfellow continued to work at the problem,and, six years later, in 1848, he made a wonder-fully ingenious little steam-engine with whichto drive a model aeroplane.

    This clever piece of miniature work had asingle cylinder, a fly-wheel, a tiny boiler, andwas beautifully constructed. Stringfellowfitted this motive power to a monoplane model

    that is to say, one with two wings like thoseof a bird. It had two propellers, workingbehind the main planes, and behind thepropellers was a bird-like tail.With this model, in 1848, he was able toobtain a short free flight through the aira triumph which will always keep his namein the minds of those who are interested inaviation. His little model did not fly far, itis true ; its tiny engine would not run forlong; but fly it did and that was sufficientlyremarkable. Henson, it should be noted, wasnot associated with Stringfellow in the con-struction of this steam-driven model, as hehad abandoned research work at this time.

    After this, for some years, nothing muchwas done in the way of aerial experimentssave that, in France, a naval officer named

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    AVIATION 19Le Bris did -some interesting work with alarge form of kite, with which he attemptedto make soaring flights. But no definite datawas procurable as a result of his experiments.Then we turn to England again where, in

    the year 1866, the Aeronautical Society wasfounded by a little party of enthusiasts.They had been studying the problem of flightfor some years, and thought it would be use-ful to band themselves together in a society,and so carry on their work by the help ofjoint action.Thus England so backward when theactual conquest of the air did come was ableto register another step forward in the pathof progress. The Aeronautical Society is,indeed, the oldest institution of its kind inthe world; and to-day, brightened and ener-gised in its internal working, it is still directingthe scientific research of many minds.At the opening meeting of this Society, inJune, 1866, an exceedingly able and interest-ing address was given by F. H. Wenham, aman who had studied very closely the questionof aerial navigation, and has left a verydistinct mark upon the history of flying. Itis curious to record what made Wenham takea practical interest in aviation. Like Sir

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    20 AVIATIONGeorge Cayley, he was an engineer, and,several years before he addressed this firstmeeting of the Aeronautical Society, he hadmade a journey up the Nile. During this triphe watched very keenly the aerial evolutionsof the birds flying within sight of the vessel,his interest in their manoeuvres leading himto take up the subject of flight, and study itin all its aspects.

    His research work culminated in his addressbefore the members of the newly-formedAeronautical Society. It is not my intentionto go deeply into the points Wenham raised.What he had done was to sift all the dataavailable, and present it in terse, carefully-arranged fashion. Looking back upon hisaddress to-day, we see that it was chieflyremarkable for the fact that he indicated,very clearly, the lifting value of a long,narrow plane. Elaborating this point, hesuggested the building of an aeroplane withtwo or more planes fitted above each other,so as to obtain ample lifting power. Really,he advocated the construction of the biplane,or triplane; and such machines long after-wards were actually built and flown. Thuswe see how, little by little, men's ideasformed themselves into a path of progress,

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    AVIATION 21and paved the way for the construction of apractical aeroplane.Not content with forming themselves intoa society, these enthusiasts in the cause offlying decided to undertake a far moreambitious project. This was nothing less thanthe holding of an exhibition. Such an exhibi-tion was actually arranged, and, in 1868, washeld at the Crystal Palace. To those of uswho are accustomed to the modern-typeaeroplane, this display would have been aweird and wonderful affair. There werequeer wings on show, by which their inventorsaspired to flap their Way through the air.There were balloons, kites, and strangeconstructions like flying fishes. Above allelse, there was suspended, in a place ofhonour, a model built by the experimenterStringfellow. It was a triplane of quite largesize, fitted with two propellers, and a narrow,boat-shaped body. In adopting three planes,fitted one above another, Stringfellow wasembodying, in a practical design, the super-posed plane principle as advocated, in hislecture, by the engineer Wenham.As an indication of the interest aroused inthe conquest of the air about this time, itis and also to note

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    22 AVIATIONthat a sporting offer to would-be aviators wasmade by the Duke of Sutherland. He saidthat he would give a prize of 100 to any onewho would make a flight to the top of StaffordHouse. I have not heard of its being won.To-day, it is worth mentioning, any airmanwould be precluded from attempting such afeat, seeing that the rules of the Royal AeroClub forbid a pilot to fly over towns orcities.While speaking of prizes, it is interesting

    to record that the Aeronautical Societypresented Stringfellow with an award of 100for his wonderful little steam engine, whichI have already described. It is quite clear,too, that the award was thoroughly deserved.John Stringfellow was, indeed, an enthusiast;and, apart from being the first to make aself-propelled model aeroplane fly, he assistedin a great many experiments carried out bythe Aeronautical Society.


    AT about the time the Aeronautical Societycame into existence, a notable figure amongthe English experimenters was HoratioPhillips. Phillips made a very deep study of

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    AVIATION 28the wings of birds, and he noticed the factthat these wings were curved, with a dippingfront edge. This form of construction, inimitation of the birds, he suggested in thebuilding of aeroplane wings, and he was anadvocate also of long, narrow planes, such asWenham had declared to be most effective.

    Phillips built a model aeroplane. It wasa strange machine, or so we should regard itto-day. He went one step farther thanStringfellow with his triplane, building anapparatus with a large number of long, narrowplanes fixed one above another. It looked,in fact, very much like a Venetian blind.Phillips did not meet with any great success,although, a good many years after his firstexperiments, one of his many-planed modelsactually lifted itself into the air while it wasrunning round a circular track. Phillips,however, shared the fate of a good manyother men at this time; he brought hisexperiments to a certain point, and couldthen get no farther.We can now turn to the year 1871. In thisyear Otto Lilienthal, a German engineer,first began to make a study of flying. Hebegan in a humble way, and though histests led him to the of a

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    24 AVIATIONgreat success, for some years after he firstbegan to study ^aviation little was heard ofhim. I shall have occasion to refer to hiswork a good many times, as we go furtherinto the history of the aeroplane.

    In 1874 Penaud, a foreign experimenter,invented a very clever little model aeroplanedriven by elastic. When its elastic motor waswound up, this little model would fly quitewell ; it was, in fact, the forerunner of themany ingenious elastic-driven models sold inour toy shops to-day. Penaud' s inventiondid not, however, lead to any definite results,but it is interesting, seeing that a modern toywas anticipated so many years ago.Another keen student of aviation, Professor

    Montgomery, began his research work in1884, and in the next year, 1885, Hargrave,an experimenter in Australia, also began aseries of tests. Thus it will be seen that,once started, aerial research work was spread-ing to many lands.

    In 1898, after studying bird flight, andhaving made a great many experiments withkites of various shapes, Otto Lilienthal, theGerman engineer I have previously mentioned,began to make a number of gliding flights,

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    AVIATION 25had two wings, curved like those of the bird.These two wings were built upon a lightwooden framework, and between the wingswas a space through which Lilienthal couldput his head and shoulders, grasping themachine with either hand. The span of thewings of

    Lilienthal's glider was not more thantwenty-seven feet, and the area of surfacevaried from 100 to about 160 square feet.When built with willow wood, the gliderweighed a little over forty pounds.

    Lilienthal's theory was that, if a manwanted to learn to fly, he must first carryout a great many gliding tests, quite close tothe ground, so as to accustom himself tobeing in the air, and also to learn to makethe balancing movements necessary to preservehis equilibrium.His plan was to stand at the top of a

    suitable hill, holding his glider in his arms,and face whatever wind was blowing. Thenhe ran forward a few yards, and jumped intothe air. The wings of his glider bore himthrough the air on a quick glide down theslope of the hill. The difficulty was tobalance himself while he was thus in flight,and, to accomplish this, Lilienthal swung hisbody to and fro, and from side to side, as his

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    26 AVIATIONmachine passed through the air. Thus, aftera great deal of practice, he was able to over-come any falling movement while in the air,and to make glides of several hundred feetin length. Naturally, he did not make anytests in high winds. What he needed was asteady, quite moderate wind.Lilienthal's glides were necessarily restricted.Having no motive power, he was obligedalways to glide downwards, the distances hetraversed being governed by the height ofhis starting point. But his practical workwas of the greatest value. He learned morethan any other man about the actual naviga-tion of the air, and was able to carry on hisexperiments for a number of years.

    In the year 1890 attention was directedtowards France, where an inventor namedAder constructed a machine driven by steam-engines, in which he was actually able tomake a short free flight. Ader's machine wasa monoplane, and its curved wings made itlook very much like a bat. It was driven bytwo steam-engines, which developed twentyhorse-power each. They actuated one pro-peller.

    Ader's short flight with this machine,which he called the Avion, attracted theattention of the and his

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    28 AVIATIONIn 1891 Professor Langley, an American

    scientist, carried out a number of importantexperiments to show the lifting powers ofvarious planes. He used, in these tests, apiece of mechanism now frequently adoptedin aerial research. This was the whirlingtable. In this the model was placed at theend of a long arm, which revolved at statedspeeds through the air, and permittedaccurate readings to be made as to the liftof planes, or the power given by a miniaturepropeller. Professor Langley's investigationswere published, and proved extremely usefulto students of aviation.In the year 1891 also, Lilienthal, the German

    investigator, was continuing his gliding testswith the greatest success. After using amonoplane glider, or machine with two wings,he built a biplane, or machine in which onelifting plane was fixed above another, hisidea, in doing this, being to obtain moresustaining surface, and thus prolong his glides.He was also thinking, at this time, of fittingan engine of some kind to one of his gliders,and so making a power-driven flight.

    Sir Hiram Maxim, continuing his experi-ments in 1893, had an accident with his big

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    AVIATION 29made an accidental ascent, breaking one ofthe checking rails which passed above thewheels. The machine turned over, and wasbadly wrecked.


    IN 1893 important work was carried out byHargrave, the Australian inventor previouslymentioned. In his tests he designed thefamous box-kite, which is flown so exten-sively to-day, and which is bought, in itssmall form, by so many schoolboys. Hargravealso built a number of very ingenious littlemachines with wings which flapped like thoseof a bird, these models making quite longflights.But no practical success has yet beenattained with a machine of man-carryingsize which sustains itself in the air by a wing-flapping action. One of the great difficultiesin applying this principle to a man-liftingmachine, lies in the transferring of the powerfrom the engine to the wings. Intricatemechanism, involving an appreciable loss ofpower, is required.In 1895 Mr Percy Sinclair Pilcher, an

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    30 AVIATIONin England. He had been making a study offlying for a good many years; but in 1895 hecommenced a series of gliding flights, on thesame lines as those undertaken by Lilienthal.Pilcher's first gliders were about the samesize as those used by Lilienthal, but heincreased their area until, in 1896, he wasusing one which had 172 feet of lifting surface,and weighed fifty and a half pounds.At first he started his glides in the sameway as Lilienthal had done. He stood onthe top of a hill, then Tan a little forwardwith his glider, and jumped into the air.But, as he increased the size of his machines,he found it difficult to launch himself in thisway; so he had his machines towed like kitesby horses. In this way he attained therequired altitude, and then released himselffrom the towing rope, afterwards making hisglide to the ground.

    Pilcher fitted wheels below his gliders tofacilitate their landing after a glide. Thiswas an improvement as compared with thoseof Lilienthal. He also set the wings of hismachine at a small upward, or dihedralangle, in order to test the steadiness of thisprinciple, but he found it of no advantage

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    AVIATION 31While Pilcher was gliding in England,

    Lilienthal in Germany was also busy. In1896 he effected some extremely long glideswith a biplane machine. His skill, also, ledhim to experiment in higher winds. Occasion-ally, when gliding in a strong wind, a gustwould get under his planes, and raise him upin the air higher than his starting point. Attimes, too, the wind would blow so stronglythat he would hang poised in the air, likesome big, soaring bird, without moving for-ward. For a novice, tests in such winds wouldhave been most perilous; but Lilienthal hadbecome extremely expert, and had learnedthe trick of balancing himself in strong winds.So enthusiastic did he become, that he began

    to glide in winds that his friends considereddangerous. Lilienthal himself, however, knewno fear. One day, in 1896, he went to histest hill to make some glides in a wind whichwas gusty as well as strong. When near-ing the end of a glide, an especially uglyblast upset the balance of his machine, whichfell to the ground, quite beyond the pilot'scontrol, Lilienthal receiving injuries whichunfortunatelyproved fatal. But this pioneer'slife was not given in vain. Indeed, so

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    82 AVIATIONby his gliding flights, that he afterwardsbecame known

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    34 AVIATIONwas afterwards to become so successful,Bleriot held many theories regarding flight ;and, as a matter of fact, some of hisearliest experiments were directed towardsthe evolution of a machine with flappingwings. Indeed, he spent a great dealof money, and risked his life on manyoccasions, before he produced the Bleriotmonoplane of the type we know to-day.

    In the year 1900, also, two other famousmen, Wilbur and Orville Wright, took upthe study of aviation in America. These twobrothers were of an intensely mechanicalturn of mind, and had the quiet, painstaking,and persevering disposition necessary tosolve any great problem.Through reading a brief account of Lilicn-

    thal's life and work they were induced totake a definite interest in the conquest of theair; and their characters revealed themselvesin the methodical way in which they begantheir investigations. They were not in ahurry. They did not immediately begin tobuild a machine. This was not their way.Instead, they made a most exhaustive studyof all the literature which was available uponthe subject, and which described the work of

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    AVIATION 35were led to go very carefully through all thewritings of the famous Sir George Cayley;and, as can be imagined, they collected everypossible scrap of information about Lilienthal'sgliding flights.At first they made tests with kites; thenhaving had previous experience, as engineers,of building printing machines and bicycles,they embarked upon the construction of aglider. There was much that was of interestin this first glider of the Wrights. Theirmethod of launching it into the air was, forinstance, noteworthy. The machine theybuilt was too big for the operator to holdwhen starting a glide; and they did not carefor Pilcher's method of having his glidertowed as a kite. Therefore they got men tohold their glider at each end, and run forwardwith it. Then, when sufficient speed had beenattained, the machine was released, andbegan its glide.

    Particularly interesting was the methodthey employed for balancing their glider.The machine was too large for the pilot tobe able to balance it, while in the air, bymovements of his body, so they devised anew system of controlling mechanism. The

    of the when

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    86 AVIATIONat full length across the lower plane, and hadin front of him, on wooden outriggers, asmall subsidiary plane, called the elevator.This little plane could be moved up and downby the pilot, and so made to control the riseor fall of the machine. When tilted up, itraised the front of the machine; when tilteddown, it caused the glider to dip earthwards.For controlling the lateral or sideway

    balance of their machine, the Wrights inventeda particularly ingenious device. They madethe rear edges of the planes of their machineflexible at either end. These flexible edgeswere connected by wires to the point wherethe pilot controlled the glider.The actual method of employing this wing-warping, as it is called, was as follows :When the machine tilted down on one side,while gliding, all the pilot did was to pulldown, or warp, the edges of the planes onthat side of the machine which was depressed.The result was that the air, passing underthis side of the plane, and acting upon thesedrawn-down edges, exercised a perceptiblelifting influence. That is to say, there wasmore lift on the side of the machine wherethe plane edges were drawn down than upon

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    AVIATION 37being to bring back the machine into itsproper flying position.There was, also, a double action in thiswing-warping mechanism. When one side ofthe machine was warped down, the other wasautomatically warped up. Therefore, whenthe machine was tilted over by a gust ofwind, the pilot could lift the side that wastipping down, and at the same time pulldown the side that was tilting up. In practice,this clever wing-warping device acted mostadmirably. It is, indeed, the method ofNature in her own flying machines the birds.When balancing themselves in winds, theywarp their wings from side to side in thesame way as the Wrights sought to do withtheir flexible plane edges.

    In their first biplane glider, built in 1900,the Wrights used 165 square feet of liftingsurface. Then, in the next year, they builtanother machine which had 305 square feetof surface. This machine weighed 116 pounds.With it they were able to make glides throughthe air lasting for nearly half a minute, andover 600 feet in length.While the Wrights were thus busy inAmerica, Captain Ferber, the French military

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    38 AVIATIONtests. In some of these, he launched himselffrom a wooden platform, instead of a hill,and obtained good results.

    After they had been gliding for severalyears, the Wrights decided to fit their machinewith motive power, and attempt a power-driven flight. At the time they came to thisdecision, they were very much more fortunatethan the earlier pioneers had been. Lilienthal,and the others before him, had to turntheir thoughts, when designing power-drivenmachines, to engines of steam, or compressedair, or some equally unsuitable medium forflying purposes.But the Wrights, when the time came forthem to consider the important question ofa practical motive power, found the petrolengine, as applied to the motor-car, alreadyat their command ; and it is the petrolengine so wonderfully light for the powerit gives which makes flying possible. Apetrol motor for aeroplanes will give onehorse-power of energy for a little over threepounds in actual weight.When they set about equipping their gliderwith an engine, however, the Wrights didnot find any piece of mechanism exactlysuited to their

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    AVIATION 39engines that were available were too heavyfor flying; so they decided to build a specialmotor in their own workshops. Being first-class engineers, they were well able to under-take such a task.The motor they produced was quite a

    simple piece of work. It had four cylinders,and developed less than twenty horse-power.Subsequently, when French experts saw theWrights' motor, they did not think much ofit. It was certainly not to be compared, inthe matter of fine workmanship, with theFrench engines produced about the sametime. But the Wrights knew what they wereabout. Although their engine was not a veryhighly-finished looking article, it answeredits purpose, and with it they were able tomake the first practical aeroplane flights.

    IVDECEMBER 17, 1903, is a very memorabledate in the history of the aeroplane, becauseon this day the Wrights, having fitted amotor to their machine, were able to maketheir first power-driven flights.The exact methods employed in driving

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    40 AVIATIONbiplane I shall find it more suitable to describe,together with details of other early-typeaeroplanes, in the third section of the book.So all that I shall do here is to deal with theactual results the brothers achieved.Facing their biplane into a light wind

    which was blowing at the time, the Wrightswere able to achieve several brief power-driven flights on this historical December 17.Of course, as compared with what we areaccustomed to in the way of flying at thepresent time, their first performance wasinsignificant; but we must remember thatthey were absolute pioneers.With their engine driving two propellers,

    and gliding their machine along a rail to giveit sufficient impetus to take the air, theWrights were able to effect a flight whichlasted for just fifty-nine seconds. This, asI have said, was in 1903; and to-day we arenot surprised to hear that a man has beenable to fly, without once descending, for morethan twelve hours. Thus has the art offlying progressed.

    Naturally, the work the Wrights haddone with their glider was of the greatestvalue to them when they came to handle

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    AVIATION 41for instance, quite accustomed to being inthe air, and this made it possible for themto carry out several short flights with theirpower-driven biplane, without damaging it,or themselves, in any way.Turning again for a moment to France, we

    find that in the next year, 1904, the inde-fatigable Captain Ferber was very busy withgliding flights, having the co-operation of thebrothers Voisin, who afterwards becamefamous throughout the flying world for thebuilding of their Voisin biplane. Using abiplane type of glider built for him by theVoisins, Captain Ferber made some longglides from the sandhills at Berck-sur-Mer.But France at this time could not produceanything like the successful results whichhad been attained so quietly hi America bythe brothers Wright.

    Continuing in 1904 their experimentswith their power-driven machine, the Wrightswere able to record very distinct progress.For instance, it was Wilbur Wright who,flying in a big circle, was able to remain inthe air for five minutes seventeen seconds.This, at such an early stage of the develop-ment of flying, was a most remarkable

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    42 AVIATIONsatisfied with their skill; they went onpractising, quietly and assiduously, to improvetheir flying. Other men, less self-repressed,would have told the world they had conqueredthe air, and would have revelled in the honourand the glory that would have followed sucha declaration. But the Wrights were ofsterner stuff. They worked steadily on insilence.

    Naturally, seeing that the flight of anaeroplane was so great a marvel, storiesleaked out about what they were doing. Buttheir experiments were carried out far awayfrom any centres of population; and, whenvague news of what they had accomplisheddrifted in to the large towns, it was greetedwith disbelief. The newspapers, for instance,did not believe that the Wrights had actuallyflown; and in Europe, when tales of theirdoings became circulated, there was consider-able scepticism.The Wrights, however, did not care at all

    what people thought. They were not out forhonour or glory; their intention was to perfecttheir aeroplane and make it a practicalmachine. Thus they toiled on, working insecret, and the world did not know the wonderthat had been achieved.

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    AVIATION 43In France, in the year 1904, a new experi-

    menter joined the ranks of those who werestriving to do what the Wrights had alreadydone. This was M. Esnault Pelterie, anenthusiastic young Frenchman who began,as others had begun, with the flying ofgliders, and whose name afterwards becameassociated with a successful monoplane. Then,in 1905, we come to another triumph recordedby the brothers Wright. Working quietlyand steadily at their machine, they wereable so to improve it that, by the summer ofthis year, they made a flight which lasted forjust over thirty-eight minutes.Now, as might be expected, definite news

    of what they were doing began to be printedin the American newspapers; but the twobrothers were not communicative, and somany experts still expressed doubt as to thegenuineness of their feats. In Europe, too,and especially in France, very few peoplebelieved that these two unknown brothershad actually conquered the air.

    While this scepticism existed, a very re-markable announcement was made in Londonbefore the members of the AeronauticalSociety. The maker of it was Mr Patrick Y.

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    44 AVIATIONsociety, and a personal friend of the Wrights.Mr Orville Wright had written a friendlyletter to Mr Alexander, describing somethingof the progress they were making with theiraeroplane. This letter Mr Alexander communi-cated to the members of the AeronauticalSociety, and what he was able to announcecreated a tremendous sensation.

    Orville Wright had told him, in fact, thathe had flown in their biplane for a distanceof over twenty-four miles without oncedescending. The remarkable effect of thisstatement, coming from one of the inventors,may be imagined. The papers dealt exten-sively with the subject; but still there weremen who doubted that this wonder had beenaccomplished. The Wrights themselves ratherencouraged the disbelief by temporarilyabandoning their flights about this time, andpacking away their machine. Their reasonwas that they were busily negotiating withvarious Governments for the sale of theirsecret, and while this bargaining was on footthey did no more flying.The most likely purchaser for their inven-tion, with a view to its military importance,was France; and the French Government

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    AVIATION 45to see the Wrights, and report on the value oftheir invention. This Captain Ferber did,and recommended that the French Govern-ment should buy the rights of the machine,for purposes of war, for the sum of 24,000.There was, however, a hitch in the negotia-tions, and after some delay the affair fellthrough. In other directions, also, the Wrightsmet with no definite success : it is clear thatwhat they required at this critical period wasa good business manager.In one way and another they wasted a

    great deal of precious time ; and at thatmoment each day's delay in reaping thefruits of their invention meant a great lossto them. While they were preserving theirsecret, and refraining from demonstrations,their rivals in France were making rapidprogress towards power-driven flights; theresult being that, through the failure of theirearly negotiations, the Wrights lost much ofthe advantage they should have obtainedfrom being so far ahead of all others in theproduction of a practicable aeroplane.

    In dealing with the year 1905, referenceshould be made to some very interestingtests carried out in America by Professor

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    46 AVIATIONresembling a double monoplane in the arrange-ment of its plants, Professor Montgomeryadopted a novel plan for demonstrating itsstability and soaring powers. Instead ofarranging for glides to be made from the topsof hills, he sent up his glider with an operatorseated in it, below a balloon.The operator allowed the balloon to raisehim several thousand feet into the air. Thenhe detached himself, with his machine, fromthe balloon, and commenced his glide tothe ground. In this way a number of veryspectacular gliding flights were obtained, andthe natural stability of Professor Montgomery'smachine was shown to be very great. But,in connection with one of these demonstra-tions from a balloon, there was a regrettableaccident, a man named Maloney, who wasemployed to operate the glider, being killed.

    In ascending with the glider below theballoon, he accidentally damaged one of theplanes of the machine, through getting itentangled with a rope from the envelope ofthe balloon. He did not notice the mishap,with the result that, when he released him-self from the balloon, the glider, thrown outof equilibrium by its damaged plane, made

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    AVIATION 47After this, little seems to have been done topromote Professor Montgomery's invention,and no full-sized machine designed accordingto his ideas seems to have been built.

    IN following the further development of theaeroplane, we shall need to turn to France,where a large number of keen experimenterswere now at work. In 1906, after makinga great many nights in balloons, and alsoin dirigible balloons, a rich young Braziliannamed Santos Dumont turned his attentionto the aeroplane. At first he had built forhim a big glider. The brothers Voisin con-structed this machine, which was so madethat it would float on the water. SantosDumont's idea was to have the glider placedon the River Seine and then to tow it behinda fast motor-boat, and so make it rise intothe air.

    This experiment was actually carried out,and the glider, after moving along the waterfor some little distance, rose from the surface,flying behind the motor-boat like a big kite.After this, Santos Dumont gave orders for

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    48 AVIATIONIt was fitted with a fifty-horse-power motor,and was of the biplane type. The newmachine was taken to a suitable flying groundat Bagatelle, not far from Paris, and hereSantos Dumont began a number of tests.

    After many delays, owing to difficultieswith his motor, he actually made a shortflight through the air, which was officiallyobserved by members of the French AeroClub. What the machine did was just tomake a big 'hop' off the ground, duringwhich it traversed about eighty yards. But,upon those who saw it, this flight made avery deep impression. The biplane ran alongthe ground upon two bicycle wheels, andthen rose a few feet into the air, and madethe short, wavering flight just mentioned.In landing, Santos Dumont damaged the run-ning gear of his machine, but this was veryquickly repaired, and not long afterwards hevery greatly improved upon his first flight.At this second attempt he flew in a straight

    line for 160 yards; and then, in anotherflight upon the same day, he flew for 230yards without touching ground. These twoflights were naturally hailed with greatenthusiasm in France. Although they were

    insignificant when compared

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    AVIATION 49with what the Wrights had done, it must beremembered that Santos Dumont's perform-ances were vouched for by the French AeroClub, whereas much doubt still existed as tothe exact achievements of the two Americanaviators. It is not surprising, therefore, tofind that Santos Dumont became a popularhero in France.He was not, however, able to make further

    progress with this first biplane. Enginetroubles, and certain defects in the machineitself, prevented him from obtaining longerflights; and so it was that another yearpassed before any notable performance wasrecorded in France. Then, when the nextstep was taken, it was a very definite one.All this time, it should be noted, the Wrightshad kept their biplane packed away, and hadmade no further flights. They were stillnegotiating for the sale of their secret, andwere meeting with no practical success.With a new machine, built by the Voisins,

    the next big step forward was taken in France.Having built a large biplane, which was adistinct improvement upon that used theprevious year by Santos Dumont, the Voisinsarranged with a famous racing motorist,named Henry Farman, to act as their

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    50 AVIATIONFarman was greatly interested in aviation,

    and so was very glad to have an opportunityof testing this machine. It was taken to themilitary parade ground at Issy-les-Moulineaux,close to Paris; and here Farman went totune it up ready for flight. The machine,however, was big and heavy, and needed thefull strength of its fifty horse-pdwer motorto get it off the ground. For some time, notbeing able to obtain the best results from hisengine, Farman was only able to run themachine up and down the parade ground.It obstinately refused to rise into the air.At last, however, on October 14, 1907,Farman got his engine well tuned up, andflew for just over 300 yards, thus beatingSantos Dumont's 'record' at Bagatelle. OnOctober 27, he improved upon his firstflight, and covered a distance of over 800yards. After this, some months were spentin making improvements on the machine;and then, in January, 1908, Farman made aflight lasting just upon two minutes, duringwhich he covered more than a mile. This wasacclaimed as a tremendous triumph, andcrowds of people went out to Issy to see theairman and his machine.A few after his mile Farman

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    AVIATION 51made an attempt to win a flying prize of2000. This was offered for a flight of one

    mile, during which the airman was called uponto make a turn while in the air, and thenreturn to his starting point without havingtouched ground.Farman performed this flight quite easily,and so won the prize. Afterwards he made a

    number of other flights, proving to those whodid not believe the stories of what the brothersWright had done, that flying with a heavier-than-air machine was perfectly feasible. Soonafter Farman began to fly, a second Voisinbiplane was acquired by M. Delagrange, anaviator who subsequently became famous.In April, 1908, Delagrange was able to remainin the air for more than nine minutes; andthus it can be seen that flying was at lastbecoming an accomplished fact in France.About this time the brothers Wright had

    their affairs taken in hand by a businesssyndicate, the result being that they emergedfrom their obscurity, and set about the task

    so long delayed of showing the worldwhat their machine could do. Orville Wrightremained in America to demonstrate beforethe military authorities, and it fell to Wilbur

    lot to to with another

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    52 AVIATIONmachine, and confound the sceptics in thatcountry. This he did most effectually.At first both he and his machine made apoor impression. He had little to say, andhis biplane was regarded by a good manyFrench engineers as a crude and clumsypiece of work. Wilbur was unfortunate, too,in regard to his motor. This proved veryrefractory at first, and he was prevented fromflying. Such delays, of course, rather playedinto the hands of his critics, and it was freelydeclared that the stories of the flights whichthe Wrights had made in America werefabrications.But with Wilbur Wright it was a case of

    'better late than never.' When at length hedid get his machine into trim, he began tomake flights that took everybody's breathaway, and made the feats of Farman andDelagrange appear very insignificant indeed.Only two of the flights which Wilbur

    made in France, and which vindicated sotriumphantly the claims made for the Wrightbiplane, need be mentioned. On December18, 1908, he flew for one hour fifty-fourminutes; then, on December 31, he remainedin the air for two hours twenty minutes.Apart from these two sensational performances,

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    AVIATION 53he ascended to a height of 400 feet, andcarried up a number of passengers with himin his machine. In fact, he demonstratedbeyond question that the Wrights had reallyconquered the air. As a result of his wonder-ful flying, the French Government becamevery interested in Wilbur Wright's biplane,and several machines of this type wereordered for war purposes from the syndicatewhich was controlling the airmen's affairs.The Italian Government, too, gave orders formachines; and Wilbur Wright also obtainedsome pupils anxious to learn how to fly.

    In connection with his teaching the art offlying, it is interesting to record that manyexperts, at this time, declared he was an'aerial acrobat,' and he would not be able toimpart his trick of flying to any other man.Such statements, however, were soon provedto be ill-founded. Two of Wilbur Wright'sfirst pupils were the Comte de Lambert andM. Tissandier the latter a well-knownballoonist. Both these men, after carefultuition by Wilbur Wright, learned to flyremarkably well; and, subsequently, ataviation meetings, gave an exceedingly goodaccount of themselves.

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    54 AVIATIONdelay, the Wrights were able to substantiateall the claims made for their machine; and,what is more important, the syndicate whichwas handling their affairs soon began to exploitvery successfully the commercial possibilitiesof the invention.

    It should be mentioned that, while WilburWright was flying in France, Orville, inAmerica, was also meeting with success in hisdemonstrations before the military authorities.Unfortunately, however, his tests were marredby a very sad accident. He was flying oneday with a passenger a Lieutenant Selfridge.Suddenly, quite without warning, one of thechains driving propellers of the biplane broke ;and, although Orville Wright exercised allhis skill, the machine fell, and was wrecked.The pilot sustained a broken thigh, whilepoor Selfridge was killed.Now, having seen how, after centuries of

    effort, men actually learned to navigate theair, let us proceed to the second section of thebook, which will deal with the subsequentflying feats of the great pioneers, and willalso give some idea of what manner of menthey were.

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    So far, our history of the development of theaeroplane has taken us to the end of the year1908; and we have dealt with the practicalflying work accomplished by the Wrights, bySantos Dumont, and also by Farman andDelagrange. The way, then, is clear for usto deal with the most fascinating period ofaerial development that is to say, with theflying season of 1909, when men ceased to becontent with circling round aerodromes, andset themselves the task of flying across countryand even of passing over seas. We shall alsonote, in this section of the book, the emergenceinto fame of some of those men who firstidentified themselves with the practical usesof the aeroplane.

    In the memorable flying season of 1909the world was amazed by the feat performed

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    56 AVIATIONChannel from France to England in a small,low-powered monoplane, thus winning theprize of 1000 offered by the Daily Mail.In July, 1909, Bleriot began to meet withdefinite success with his monoplane. Pre-viously he had built and broken up a numberof these machines. But at last he constructedone itwas his eleventh which flew very wellindeed with a twenty-five horse-power motor.After making several short flights with thismonoplane, Bleriot succeeded, on July 13, ineffecting a cross-country journey flight oftwenty-five miles an astonishing feat at thistime; and it was then he was induced to cometo Calais with his machine and make an attemptto fly across the Channel to Dover, and winthe Daily Mail prize.

    Already on the scene, however, he foundanother airman, the late Mr Hubert Latham.Mr Latham had come to Calais quite early inJuly with his Antoinette monoplane. Thiswas a beautifully constructed aircraft, witha long, boat-shaped body, and with two verylarge sustaining wings set at a slight upwardor dihedral angle. The machine was drivenby a fifty horse-power eight-cylinder engine.At this time, after a period during which

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    AVIATION 57had been flown remarkably well by Mr Latham,who was already recognised as a pilot of excep-tional ability. Before coming to Calais forthe cross-Channel flight, he had remained inthe air at Mourmelon for over an hour; andthe Antoinette, a most imposing, bird-likemachine to watch when in flight, was regardedas one of the most scientifically-devised ofexisting aeroplanes. Latham, however, hadbad luck. On July 19, he started to fly toDover, but had not got quite half-way acrossthe Channel when his motor failed, and hehad to glide down into the sea. He wasrescued by a torpedo-boat destroyer, but hismonoplane, in being salved by a steam-tug,was very badly damaged. Another Antoinettewas sent for from the works in Paris, andMr Latham made up his mind to make asecond attempt as soon as he could. At thisjuncture M. Bleriot arrived on the scene; andon July 25, starting at sunrise, he crossedthe Channel in a thirty-seven-minute flight,and won the 1000 prize.Latham, hi a most sportsmanlike way,

    insisted upon making another attempt, despitethe fact that the prize had been won. Hestarted away from the French coast, for thesecond on and had ot

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    58 AVIATIONwithin a mile or two of Dover when his enginestopped, and he had again to alight on thewater. In doing so, he had the misfortune tobe thrown forward from his driving seatagainst an upright spar, cutting his headrather severely. Everybody sympathisedwith him in his bad luck; but he was able,soon afterwards, to make some splendid nights.The effect of Bleriot's' cross-Channel flightupon the development of the aeroplane wasmost marked. For instance, a large numberof orders came to him for replicas of hissuccessful monoplane, and he soon had afactory working at high pressure in theproduction of such machines. He also foundthat many men wanted to learn to fly theBleriot monoplane. Thus, in addition to hisfactory, he was able to start a flying schoolat Pau, where he soon had many pupils.Another important result of Bleriot's great

    flight was that the military authorities inFrance, and other countries, began to takea serious interest in the development of air-craft.

    Thus, in the beginning of August, 1909,aviation in France was in a most hopeful state.Apart from Bleriot's activities, the Voisins were

    machines, and Henry Farman

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    AVIATION 59was equally well occupied in the constructionof an improved biplane, embodying his ownideas. Then came the world's first flyingmeeting, held at Rheims in August. To thistravelled enthusiasts from all parts of theworld; and, flying the earliest practicableaeroplanes in actual competition against eachother, appeared that handful of expert pilotswho first demonstrated what the aeroplanecould really do.The famous Wright brothers, having anaversion to aviation meetings, did not takepart in the contests themselves, but severalof their biplanes were to be seen in flight.The pilots of the Wright machines at Rheimswere the Comte de Lambert arid M. Tissandier

    pupils I have already mentioned and alsoa third flyer, M. Lefevre. The last-named,a bold, dashing pilot, electrified everybodyby his dips and dives while flying near thegrand-stands. He may, indeed, be said to bethe first airman who really studied the artof what is now known as 'exhibition' flying

    that is to say, piloting an aeroplane in allsorts of evolutions to interest and amuse aconcourse of people.M. Lefevre, a keen, dark young man whoknew no fear, did some really remarkable

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    60 AVIATIONthings with his Wright biplane, demonstrat-ing in a very conclusive way how extremelysensitive this machine was to the movementsof its controlling planes. Some time afterthe Rheims festival, poor Lefevre meetingwith a very bad fall while testing a newmachine was fatally injured.The two other Wright pilots, de Lambertand Tissandier, were rather overshadowed atRheims by Lefevre' s brilliant flying, but theywere extremely capable men none the less.De Lambert, for instance, was a cool, quietflyer, who thought out everything he didvery carefully indeed ; but once he haddecided that a flight was possible, he carriedit out with great precision. He did nothingvery memorable at Rheims; but not longafter this meeting, he made a sensationalflight over Paris, circling round the EiffelTower.

    Tissandier was a small, dark, agile littleman, who piloted his biplane with rarejudgment, and although he like de Lambert

    did nothing very noteworthy at Rheims,he proved himself, on many other occasions,to be a sound and capable pilot.While mentioning the Wright biplane, one

    ought to refer to another American-built

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    AVIATION 61machine which had by this time appearedupon the scene.

    Its inventor and pilot wasMr Glen H. Curtiss. He and his two mechanicsafforded a marked contrast at Rheims to thesomewhat excitable Frenchmen. Nothingperturbed them; they just brought out thebiplane, and Mr Curtiss got in it and flew off.There was no fuss or bustle about this airmanor his helpers. They knew what they weredoing all the time, and did it quietly andwithout ostentation. Mr Curtiss' s machinewas a very light racing-type biplane, whichflew so fast that it beat M. Bleriot's mono-plane in the speed race, and won the Gordon-Bennett International Trophy, averaging aspeed of forty-seven miles an hour. This was,in those days, considered very fast indeed;and yet, at the present time, we are not verysurprised to hear that a monoplane has flownat more than 100 miles an hour.Mr Curtiss represents, as a type, the

    thoroughly competent, go-ahead Americanengineer. After his triumph at Rheims, hereturned to America, and built a number ofmachines, some of which were acquired bythe American Government. Recently he hasbuilt successful hydro-aeroplanes but this isa to which reference will be made later.

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    AMONG these first flyers of aeroplanes as wesaw them at Rheims was M. Bleriot. Dark,with a prominent nose, and keen, penetratingeyes, Bleriot looked the veritable 'bird-man.'His enthusiasm, in the cause of flying, knewno bounds; and at Rheims he flew magnifi-cently. He had by this time devised a newtype of monoplane capable of carrying apassenger. In it the pilot and passenger satside by side below the planes, with the motorimmediately in front of them.

    I know this first passenger-carrying typeof Bleriot monoplane rather well, seeing that,when at Rheims, I met M. Bleriot, andordered one of these machines from him. Itwas upon such a two-seated Bleriot, as amatter of fact, that I first learned to fly. Myfirst attempts were made at Issy, near Paris;and I managed to fly with the machine earlyone morning, after only one or two preliminaryruns along the ground, during which I accus-tomed myself to the controlling mechanism.Driven by a fifty horse-power motor, this firsttwo-seated Bleriot was a very speedy machine.The one I had was so fast, indeed, that M.


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    AVIATION 63This was at Pau, where I took the machinefrom Issy to continue my flying practice.M. Bleriot, coming out to the flying groundone morning, said he would take the machinefor a spin with myself as a passenger. Inmaking a turn, the monoplane proved so fastthat it got the famous airman into temporarydifficulties, and we finished up in a hedge.It was then that M. Bleriot declared themachine to be too rapid in flight. To-day,however, we should think very little of thespeed that this particular machine attained.At Rheims, Bleriot strove very hard to winthe speed prize; but, as I have said, Curtiss,the American, just beat him. Bleriot tried allsorts of dodges to increase the speed of hismachine, using propellers with two blades andalso with four, and even trimming pieces offthe edges of his wings. But Curtiss won theprize, and so the Gordon-Bennett Trophy wentto America. M. Bleriot, however, had his re-venge next year as an aeroplane constructor

    for in 1910, at Belmont Park, New York, Iwon this annual race, using a Bleriot racingmonoplane with a 100 horse-power engine.

    Another prominent figure at Rheims wasHenry Farman. Farman is small, quick, and

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    64 AVIATIONairman, with eyes that see everything, andhands that move, with the greatest delicacy.No man has worked harder for aviation, andno man has won greater or more honourablesuccess. Prior to the Rheims meeting,Farman had been quietly at work buildinga biplane which he intended to be an improve-ment upon the Voisin he had first flown.At Rheims this new Farman biplane,piloted by Farman himself, appeared inpublic for the first time. Its success wasremarkable, and it laid the foundation-stoneof the reputation that the Farman machineshave since won. I shall have occasion todescribe this machine, with others, in anothersection of the book; so all I need say here isthat the Farman biplane, when comparedwith its predecessor the Voisin, was a lighter,neater-looking, and more speedy machine.Above all, it was equipped at Rheims, forthe first time, with a wonderful aeroplanemotor, which was revolutionary in its actualmethod of running, and also in its effect uponthe flying industry. This engine was theGnome. In its action it differed altogetherfrom any other aviation motor. Otherengines had fixed cylinders and a revolvingcrank-shaft. In the Gnome the

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    AVIATION 65flew round and the crank-shaft stood still.To explain, in non-technical terms, just whatthe advantages of this engine were is not aneasy task; but I will endeavour to makematters clear.With aeroplane motors, before the Gnome

    was introduced, the difficulty had been that,through being obliged to run at a very highspeed, they showed a tendency to becomeover-heated and stop working.Some of these motors were air-cooled, asit is called; that is to say, the cylinders werecooled by the rush of air, when the machinewas in flight, being caught by metal platesor fins round the tops of the cylinders. Butthese early air-cooled engines soon got veryhot when they were driving an aeroplane inflight, and so they gave much trouble.

    In flying, I should explain, a motor has todo much harder work than the engine of amOtor-car does. The motorist, as he drives,is constantly changing his gears, and sogives his engine a rest every now and then.But with an aeroplane the engine needs torun at a high speed from the moment themachine leaves the ground, and has to keepit up all the time the aeroplane is in flight.What the aeroplane motor has to do, in fact,

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    66 AVIATIONmay be compared to taking a motor-car andmaking it climb > one long hill all the time.To add to the difficulties of the makers ofaeroplane motors, the engines had to bebuilt as lightly as possible; and so it can beimagined what trouble there was in theearly days.Other engines were fitted with a system ofwater-cooling. By this plan, water waspumped through jackets which enclosed thetops of the cylinders. But this necessitatedthe use of radiators and tanks, and addedappreciably to the weight of the engine.The radiators, having to be made very light,showed a tendency to leak; and, altogether,the water-cooling method had distinct dis-advantages.And now came the Gnome an engine builtspecially to meet the difficulties encounteredin fitting aeroplanes with motive power. Bya very ingenious system of construction allits seven cylinders were made to spin roundthe crank-shaft. The result was that theengine automatically kept itself cool, and sodid away with the drawback of over-heating.

    This, of course, was a tremendous boon.Another great advantage of the Gnome was

    it was its

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    AVIATION 67revolving action it gave a smooth, very eventhrust to the propeller, with the result thatit proved highly efficient when actuallydriving an aeroplane through the air.The Gnome was, however, a strange lookingengine, and its mechanism was certainlymost intricate. Therefore, many experts whosaw it first declared that it would not provereliable. But Henry Farman had great con-fidence in this engine, and was quite ready tofit it to his biplane.That his confidence was not misplaced was

    shown during the Rheims meeting. Ascend-ing one evening in an attempt to win thelong-distance prize, he flew on and on untilat last darkness compelled him to descend.Then it was found that he had remained inthe air for three hours four minutes, creatinga world's record. During this long flight thenew Gnome engine ran perfectly; and sinceits first great triumph it has played anextraordinarily prominent part in all theimportant contests. Recently, however, agood many improved fixed-cylinder engineshave been introduced, and quite a numberare now fitted to aeroplanes, but the Gnomeis still used very extensively.

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    68 AVIATIONFarman's splendid three-hour flight at Rheims.He flew very low all the time, sweeping roundthe big course with remarkable precision, hisGnome engine roaring away all the time witha perfect rhythm of sound. It was, indeed, amost impressive demonstration of man's con-quest of the air. When he descended fromthis wonderful flight Farman seemed onlyslightly tired, and very little elated. He tookall such successes quite as a part of the day'swork, and he was not at all cast down whenany new idea proved a failure. Always, ashis chief aim, he has had the evolution of apractical, every-day aeroplane, which shall besafe hi the hands of an ordinary man. At thepresent time, he and his brother Maurice areworking in co-operation in the production ofbiplanes which find much favour for militaryuse.

    IllIN describing these pioneers of aviation, aswe saw them at Rheims, the magnificentflying of the late Mr Hubert Latham mustnot be forgotten. Piloting his big, hawk-likeAntoinette in gradually ascending circles, herose until he was 500 feet above the ground.

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    AVIATION 69tremendous height, and Latham won thechief prize.

    This aviator, whose death in a huntingaccident we mourned not so long ago, hada fascinating personality. He was slight anddark, with a pale, serious face; and he stoodwith sloping shoulders, looking more like astudent than an airman. When he spokehis voice was quiet and low-toned, and hehad habitually rather a bored, listless manner.But this air of boredom hid a spirit which,for sheer, reckless daring, has probably neverbeen equalled in the brief history of airman-ship. In these early days Latham flew inwinds in which no other pilot would havedared to ascend. He took his life in hishands with a quiet, rather weary smile. Hishandling of the Antoinette, and the way hemade its wide-spread wings bank over whenhe was circling round an aerodrome, provideda magnificent spectacle.Another airman at Rheims who flew wonder-

    fully well, and who subsequently becameworld-famous, was Paulhan. This cheerful,smiling young Frenchman owed his introduc-tion to aviation to the fact that he won aVoisin biplane in a competition, and after-wards obtained financial assistance from his

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    70 AVIATIONfriends in order to fit a motor to it. On hisprize biplane he flew splendidly at Rheims.Afterwards he carried out a great manyexhibition flights; but his name will bechiefly memorable for the fact that he wonthe great 10,000 prize offered by the DailyMail for the 183-mile flight from London toManchester.

    In this contest, it may be remembered,I entered the lists as a rival of the Frenchairman; but on the two occasions when Iattempted the flight, the high and gustywinds in the Trent Valley brought me to theground. In those days I was a comparativenovice at flying, while Paulhan was an airmanof wide experience. Thus, in regard to thishistoric contest, as I have always said, 'thebest man won.' One piece of very bad luck,however, fell to my lot. This was when, aftergetting as far as Lichfield on my first attempt,the wind blew my biplane over while it stoodin a field, and damaged it very severely.The repairing of the machine delayed me

    considerably in making another attempt, andso enabled Paulhan to appear upon the scene.Indeed, if it had not been for this unfortunateaccident, a different tale might, perhaps,

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    AVIATION 71Manchester flight. However, Paulhan won,and he richly deserved his prize. The windswere high and gusty; and Paulhan himselfconfessed afterwards that he had neverbefore been through such an ordeal. Paulhanwon a great deal of money in flying prizes,and subsequently became a constructor ofaeroplanes. More recently he has been turn-ing his attention to the development of thehydro-aeroplane. xAnother very fine flyer at Rheims was

    Rougier, who was a racing motorist beforehe took up aviation. Rougier flew a Voisin,and after the Rheims meeting took his machineto the south of France, where he gave manyexhibition flights. When flying at Nice, hisbiplane fell into the sea, and the airman,besides being injured, was nearly drowned.As one of the prominent men at Rheims,

    one must not forget to mention Delagrange.He, as may be remembered, first began tofly upon a Voisin biplane. But afterwardshe learned to pilot a Bleriot monoplane, andupon this machine, soon after the Rheimsmeeting, he made a speed record of fifty milesan hour through the air. On this flight, itis interesting to note, he used a Gnomeengine for the first time upon a monoplane.

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    72 AVIATIONSoon afterwards, while flying in France, withthis same machine, Delagrange met with afatal accident. One of the wings of his mono-plane crumpled up while he was in flight, andthe machine fell like a stone. This directedattention to the need for great strength inthe construction of monoplanes fitted withpowerful engines.

    After the excitement of the Rheims carnivalhad died down, a great deal of interest wasdisplayed in a couple of flying meetingsthe first of their kind in England whichwere held at Blackpool and Doncaster. AtBlackpool, a flight that will never be forgottenwas made by Mr Latham. Rising in a windwhich blew at the rate of nearly forty milesan hour, he made a couple of circuits of theaerodrome. His monoplane stood still in theair once or twice when facing the wind; andthen, when it turned and flew with the wind,attained a speed of nearly 100 miles an hour.Such a daring performance had certainlynever been seen before.

    This flying season of 1909 was brought toan end by some remarkable feats. WilburWright, for instance, flew with a passengerfor a hour and a half. Henry Farman, in an

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    AVIATION 78made at Rheims, actually remained in theair for four hours seventeen minutes; whileHubert Latham, attempting another heightrecord, ascended 1640 feet.

    Before completing our review of 1909, it isnecessary to refer to the work that was beingdone in England. On Laffan's Plain, forexample, Mr S. F. Cody, afterwards tobecome famous with his big biplane, hadalready made several short flights. Mr J. T. C.Moore-Brabazon, a young Englishman whohad distinguished himself as a racing motorist,bought a Voisin biplane, and flew with itboth in France and in England. Anotherexperimenter who was beginning to winsuccess was Mr A. V. Roe. He was anadvocate of the triplane form of machine,and succeeded in making a flight with anengine which developed only nine horse-power.


    Now, in the story of the work of the pioneers,we come to the year 1910. It was remarkable,at the beginning, for the number of cross-country flights which were made. Aeroplaneengines were rapidly becoming more reliable,and pilots were growing more confident in

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    74 AVIATIONtheir own skill and in the stability of theirmachines.Thus it was that 1910 was a great cross-

    country flying year, one of the most significantfeats to be accomplished being the winningof the 10,000 prize for the flight from Londonto Manchester. I have already referred toPaulhan's success; therefore all I need dohere is to cite one or two facts and figures.For instance, in my first attempt to win theprize, I covered 113 miles with one stop;then Paulhan, with one halt en route, flewthe 183 miles from London to Manchester ina flying time of four hours twelve minutes.In my second attempt, when I started fromWormwood Scrubs on the afternoon ofApril 27, soon after Paulhan had left Hendon,I got as far as Roade, and was then obligedto descend on account of the darkness. I wassome distance behind Paulhan, and so madeup my mind to try to catch him by makinga flight during the night. It was the firsttime that a flight across country had beenmade during the night-time, and the risks ofundertaking it were pointed out to me bymany of my friends. But I was extremelykeen upon overtaking Paulhan, and I hadgreat confidence in my machine and motor.

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    AVIATION 75So I got away from a small field while it wasstill quite dark, and then flew on above therailway line, being guided principally by thelights from the stations.

    I kept on in this way until it got light, andwas then rapidly catching up Paulhan, whohad not yet started from the place where hehad landed overnight. But, unfortunately,the wind rose at dawn, and I received a verybad buffeting while flying through thetreacherous Trent Valley. In fact, the windbecame so bad that it twisted my machinealmost completely round in the air, and I wasat length practically beaten down. Thisdestroyed my chance of winning the prize, asPaulhan managed to fly on in one more stageto his goal at Manchester. I had the satis-faction, however, of showing that an English-man could, at least, put up a fairly goodstruggle in a flying contest.

    After the London to Manchester flights,very keen interest in aviation was aroused inEngland. People were eager to see aeroplanesin flight, and I was busy for some time givingdemonstrations with my Farman biplane. Igave several exhibitions, for instance, at theCrystal Palace, at Brooklands and Ranelagh,and also in the provinces. After showing

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    T6 AVIATIONmuch apathy, the people of England were,indeed, beginning to display some genuineconcern as to the conquest of the air.

    In May, 1910, a very interesting event wasthe second crossing of the Channel by aero-plane. The machine used was another Bleriot,this time fitted with a Gnome engine, and theaviator was M. de Lesseps. Another remark-able flight, made about this time, was thataccomplished by the American, Mr GlenCurtiss. With only one halt he flew fromAlbany to New York, a cross-country flightof 150 miles.About the middle of the flying season of

    1910, aviation schools began to spring upeverywhere, and the number of airmen grewby leaps and bounds. Whereas in 1909 onecould count the really fine pilots upon thefingers of two hands, the flying season of 1910saw the ranks of really clever airmen swelleduntil they could be numbered in hundreds.In England, flying schools were soon in opera-tion at half a dozen places; while in Francethey were dotted about all over the country.

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    MANY fine pilots began to emerge about thistime from the ranks of the English airmen.Notable among them was the late Hon. C. S.Rolls, a famous motorist and balloonist, whofirst learned to fly as Lilienthal had done, bygliding from a hill-top, and who afterwardspiloted with distinction a Wright biplane.Upon a machine of this type, on June 5,1910, Mr Rolls started from Dover, flewacross the Channel to the sea-coast nearCalais, and then, turning round in the air, flewback again to Dover without once alighting

    a feat which was quite rightly regarded asa memorable one. A month later Mr Rollscame with myself, and a number of otherairmen, to fly at the Bournemouth meeting.On the second day of this festival, while hewas flying near the grand-stand, the rearelevating plane of his machine suddenly gaveway, and the biplane dived to the groundquite beyond control, with the result thatthe pilot was killed. Needless to say, everyone in the flying industry in England sincerelymourned his death.

    In August, 1910, a remarkable cross-countrywas made in France an airman

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    78 AVIATIONnamed Bielovucie the pilot who recentlycrossed the Alps by air. Starting from Paris,he flew right thrbugh to Bordeaux, a distanceof 850 miles. He made the flight in threestages, and was three days en route. His per-formance, as a practical illustration of whatthe aeroplane could do, created much interest,particularly as the airman had flown thislong distance rather than pack up his biplane,which was a Voisin, and send it by train.In August, too, M. Leblanc, a well-known

    pilot of the Bleriot monoplane, effected aseries of astonishing flights while taking partin a contest known