Classic History Books

William J. Claxton - The Mastery of the Air

Farman achieved great fame through his early flights, and, on 13th January, 1908, at the flying ground at
Issy, in France, he won the prize of L2000, offered by MM. Deutsch and Archdeacon to the first aviator

who flew a circular kilometre. In July of the same year he won another substantial prize given by a

French engineer, M. Armengaud, to the first pilot who remained aloft for a quarter of an hour.

Probably an even greater performance was the cross-country flight made by Farman about three months
later. In the flight he passed over hills, valleys, rivers, villages, and woods on his journey from Chalons

to Rheims, which he accomplished in twenty minutes.

In the early models of the Voisin machine there were fitted between the two main planes a number of
vertical planes, as shown clearly in the illustration facing p. 160. It was thought that these planes would

increase the stability of the machine, independent of the skill of the operator, and in calm weather they

were highly effective. Their great drawback, however, was that when a strong side wind caught them the

machine was blown out of its course.

Subsequently Farman considerably modified the early-type Voisin biplane, as shown by the illustration
facing p. 160. The vertical planes were dispensed with, and thus the idea of automatic stability was


But an even greater distinction between the Farman biplane and that designed by the Wrights was in the
adoption of a system of small movable planes, called AILERONS, fixed at extremities of the main

planes, instead of the warping controls which we have already described. The ailerons, which are adapted

to many of our modern aeroplanes, are really balancing flaps, actuated by a control lever at the right side

of the pilot's seat, and the principle on which they are worked is very similar to that employed in the

warp system of lateral stability.


CHAPTER XXX. A Famous British Inventor

About the time that M. Bleriot was developing his monoplane, and Santos Dumont was astonishing the
world with his flying feats at Bagatelle, a young army officer was at work far away in a secluded part of

the Scottish Highlands on the model of an aeroplane. This young man was Lieutenant J. W. Dunne, and

his name has since been on everyone's lips wherever aviation is discussed. Much of Lieutenant Dunne's

early experimental work was done on the Duke of Atholl's estate, and the story goes that such great

secrecy was observed that "the tenants were enrolled as a sort of bodyguard to prevent unauthorized

persons from entering". For some time the War Office helped the inventor with money, for the numerous

tests and trials necessary in almost every invention before satisfactory results are achieved are very


Probably the inventor did not make sufficiently rapid progress with his novel craft, for he lost the
financial help and goodwill of the Government for a time; but he plodded on, and at length his plans were

sufficiently advanced for him to carry on his work openly. It must be borne in mind that at the time

Dunne first took up the study of aviation no one had flown in Europe, and he could therefore receive but

little help from the results achieved by other pilots and constructors.

But in the autumn of 1913 Lieutenant Dunne's novel aeroplane was the talk of both Europe and America.
Innumerable trials had been made in the remote flying ground at Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey, and the

machine became so far advanced that it made a cross-Channel flight from Eastchurch to Paris. It

remained in France for some time, and Commander Felix, of the French Army, made many excellent

flights in it. Unfortunately, however, when flying near Deauville, engine trouble compelled the officer to


< back | 43 | next >

Buy This Book


Our Other Sites

Historic Paintings
Online Dating

Kindle 2 Reviews
Funny Video Clips



Classic History Books | Book List | Author Bios | Site Map | About Us | Privacy Statement
This Website is ©Copyright 2008 - 2009 - WebQuest Publishing
None of the content may be copied or reused.