quarta-feira, 16 de novembro de 2011

The Flight of the Santos=Dumont 14 Bis Airplane

The 14 Bis, the first homologated airplane flight in history, emerged from a series of inventions with the name "Number 14", learn how this series of events brought the most famous airplane of Santos=Dumont.

Leia este artigo em Português 

On June 12, 1905 Santos=Dumont flied his dirigible of number 14 in Saint-Cloud, it was an agile and fast model. With an internal volume of 200 cubic meters, the number 14 was extremely thin, moved by a Clement motor of 3.5 HP.

After the first tests the dirigible proved to be extremely difficult to maneuver and very unstable. Santos=Dumont has redesigned the involucre, this time more thick, with 186 cubic meters. He flew with this latest version of number 14 on August 21, 1905 on Trouville, in the coast.

It was also on the French coast that Dumont noticed in a boats race that the Antoinette engines were more powerful and lighter, which would make the flight of airplanes possible.

Also in Trouville, he saw the flight of kites in the shape of Hargraves cells and got inspired. His team worked in secret. With a wingspan of 12 meters and measuring 10 meters long, the bamboo frame was covered with Japanese silk, the rudder was projected in front of the aircraft (canard configuration).

Santos=Dumont decided not to take unnecessary risks, he knew he would had to master the commands before venturing into the air, he decided to engage the aircraft dirigible of number 14 (that’s why it’s called 14 “bis” – Latin word bis means twice, repetition) using a 24 HP Antoinette engine, the fusion of airplane and airship proved to be extremely unstable, in addition its drag created was very great. See animation below.

Click on the image above to see how the airplane 14 a blimp in conjunction with number 14 was unstable.

Once he got rid of the dirigible, the biplane finally freed from its weak partner, received the name of the press “Oiseau de Proie” (Bird of Prey).
Here, a donkey called Kuigno, entered to the aviation history helping Dumont with his experiments

Still aiming to master the controls and find the best conditions for handling S=D ties cables to the 14 bis, that were pulled to the higher side with the help of a charming donkey and then ran free, like a great zip line.

He also made some experiments in the hangar and noticed that his engine would not able to take flight, thus decided to replace it by a 50 HP Antoinette.

It was in the field of Bagatelle, on September 7 that S=D managed to get the wheels off the ground for a little while, so that was how Dumont decided to put his trust on the 14 bis to win the Archdeacon Prize.

He tried the flight again on September 13, 1906 but the engine was not working with all pistons. His technician, Chapin 14 fix it and he flew the incredible distance of 13 meters.

On October 23, 1906, Santos Dumont presented himself again at Bagatelle with the Oiseau de Proie of Oiseau II, with some small modifications on the original model, the airplane had been varnished to reduce the porosity of the tissue and increase the lift.

At this day the 14 Bis flew 60 meters at 3 meters high. But it was only on November 12, 1906 at 16:45 precisely that the 14 Bis flew 220m at 6 meters high and won the prize offered by the Aeroclub of France - IT WAS THE FIRST DOCUMENTED FLIGHT IN THE HISTORY OF AVIATION.