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 Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines

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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Thu 28 Apr 2016, 14:06

A thread about the aviation pioneers in the days before the First World War.

28 April 1910, Louis Paulhan wins the Daily Mail London to Manchester race, and the first prize of £10,000.

London to Manchester Air Race

Paulhan lands his Farman III biplane at Didsbury to win the race;
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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Thu 28 Apr 2016, 14:14

Louis Bleriot with sightseers at Dover in July 1909 after his cross Channel flight.

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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Thu 28 Apr 2016, 14:23

A Bleriot XI was also the winner of the Round Britain Race in 1911.

Circuit of Britain Air Race

Aircraft competing in the race;

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Thu 28 Apr 2016, 14:30

What about some magnificent women also?



Lilian Bland, from Anglo-Irish stock, and who ferval might know better as an early photo-journalist whose many pictures are an invaluable record of Scottish island life in the opening years of the 20th century, became the first woman to design, build and fly an aeroplane between 1910 and 1911.

Lilian's inspiration to embark on such a course of action was the receipt of a postcard from her uncle depicting Bleriot's monoplane which in 1909 had famously made the first Channel crossing. Her immediate impulse was to follow in the Frenchman's contrail. The only snag was that there was no one at that point making these new-fangled contraptions for sale and she would have to build the thing herself.

Her Belfast home, fortunately enough, was equipped with an impressive engineering workshop (her family were Royal Society members). Having borrowed two books about the Wright brothers from the local Carnegie library she basically worked the whole thing out for herself.

Bland's genius was that the resulting creation, the Mayfly (see above), was designed and functioned as a glider - but no ordinary glider. A lack of funds was all that had prevented her from going straight for an engine-powered craft so she had quite cleverly designed a plane with the weight and aerodynamic ability of a glider, but with the strength, capacity, pre-design and equally suitable aerodynamic properties to take an engine later and still work. Even today a skilled aeronautical engineer would appreciate the challenge this presents - Bland achieved it using nothing more than two library books and a lot of innate skill.

The flights, once the engine was eventually paid for and installed, could be measured in metres rather than miles. But then, the same could be said for many male enthusiasts' efforts at the time too. Her Mayfly still achieved the record of being the first powered biplane flight in Ireland (and Bland quite naturally the first woman to fly such a device in the island).



By April 1911 her father's nerves were in shreds apparently (Bland's landings were typical of the day) and he persuaded Lilian to swap the plane for a car. She did, becoming the first female to run a car dealership in Britain (if not the world). By October that year she had tired of her business career however and, having married her cousin Charles Loftus Bland, promptly emigrated to Canada.

She moved to the UK in the 1930s and died in Cornwall in 1971, aged 92.


Lilian, primed for a thirty yard hop.
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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Thu 28 Apr 2016, 14:57

Excellent, Nordmann. That entire story was new to me.

.................................................................................................................

The first ever flight in Europe, by Brazilian inventor and aeronaut Alberto Santos-Dumont in the Bois de Boulogne, 23 October 1906;

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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Thu 28 Apr 2016, 15:18

The first flight in Britain was made by Samuel Franklin Cody in British Army Aeroplane Number 1, 16 October 1908;

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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Thu 28 Apr 2016, 15:27

Not all attempts were successful;



the final footage is of a Wright Flyer showing how it should be done.
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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Thu 28 Apr 2016, 16:09

Ferdinand von Zeppelin's first airship, LZ1, makes it's maiden flight at Lake Constance, 2 July 1900;

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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Fri 29 Apr 2016, 08:43

I'm sticking with the women - in the early days they were proportionately at their highest level ever regarding people actually getting these buckets off the ground, way more than nowadays even, yet for some strange reason never receive much credit at all for this in popular culture.

So how about the first "official" pilot of the female sex?

France was the first country to try to legislate who should be allowed steer these half-ton assemblies of metal, fabric and human organs over unsuspecting population's heads and, long before the idea of a driving licence was proposed, they began issuing pilot licences.

In 1910 it was a year since Mademoiselle Raymonde de Laroche had already (contentiously) been awarded the accolade of being the first woman ever to solo-fly a heavier-than-air craft of the aeroplane variety, a logical extension of the enthusiastic 27-year old amateur balloonist's skills. A veteran already of several air-shows and test flights she duly received her official permit from the government in March of that year. This persuaded her even more to pursue the hobby as a profession and she became a star attraction at air shows as far afield as Cairo, St Petersburg, Rouen and Budapest over the coming months.



Her father was a plumber by trade, allegedly specialising in toilet de-clogging, and it had been expected that young Raymonde should follow suit. But, rather bucking the common perception that such things were the preserve of the idle (if adventurous) rich young things of the day, Mlle de Laroche decided instead from a young age (after first trying her hand as an actress) that travelling at speed powered by a combustion engine was something of which even the lower middle classes could, and should, avail themselves. Helped by her fellow car-racer, part-time lover, and early aviation pioneer Charles Voisin, she showed not only incredible bravery but also no small aptitude in mastering these air-borne contraptions almost from the off (her first lesson was a solo flight with Voisin shouting instructions from the ground below).

By the time she arrived at the Cairo air-show she was already being billed as "Baroness" de Laroche, and it was as the Flying Baroness that Raymonde, at an air-show in Reims, crashed and injured herself so severely that she was out of the cockpit for two years. Worse, just as she had recovered from this and got back in the air, a car driven by her old friend Voisin in which she was a passenger crashed, killing him and so severely injuring Raymonde so that she was again grounded.



Fate seemed to be telling Raymonde to stay on terra firma, and it wasn't relying solely on crashes to tell her either. Again, having recovered from her latest setback long enough to compete and win some endurance flight trials, a few air races, as well as some occasional altitude trial records, the outbreak of the First World War (in which women aviators just weren't countenanced) put paid to her flying career yet again for the foreseeable future - though she served with some distinction as a military driver ferrying soldiers to and from the front line, often under considerable assault.

After the war, and in light of the exciting new developments in aircraft design the conflict had spawned, she decided aero-engineering and test piloting was what she should quite logically pursue as a career thereafter to keep her in the air (when not setting new altitude records for women pilots in the meantime). In 1919, while testing a monoplane in Le Crotoy as co-pilot, the craft nose-dived and crashed, killing both on board.

Posthumously de Laroche was honoured with a statue at Paris's Le Bourget airport, though most visitors will probably only notice the more prominently displayed tribute to Charles Lindbergh on the way in (he landed there in the Spirit of St Louis). The government forbade the use of the word "Baroness" on the inscription, though even today some enterprising feminist enthusiasts (and plumbing aficionados) helpfully correct their omission with felt-tip markers every now and then.

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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Fri 29 Apr 2016, 09:25

Roe IV Triplane of the Shuttleworth Collection. ( replica of the one and only plane of this type from 1910/11)

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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Fri 29 Apr 2016, 15:50

The military potential of aeroplanes had already been recognised by the time this photo was taken in February 1913:



During the Army Manoeuvers of 1912, General Grierson's use of aircraft had enabled his Blue Forces to "defeat" General Haig's Red Forces. A lesson not lost on Haig.

1912 Manoeuvres
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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Fri 29 Apr 2016, 16:03

9 May 1912, Commander Samson takes off from HMS Hibernia, the first time an aeroplane had lifted off from a moving ship. The plane is a Short S.27;

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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Fri 29 Apr 2016, 19:06

@Triceratops wrote:
Excellent, Nordmann. That entire story was new to me.

.................................................................................................................

The first ever flight in Europe, by Brazilian inventor and aeronaut Alberto Santos-Dumont in the Bois de Boulogne, 23 October 1906;

The Brazilians still claim that as the first unassisted flight - they reckon the railed launch ramp the Wrights used means that wasn't "free flight". IIRC the French Aeronautical Club used to be of that opinion too.
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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Wed 04 May 2016, 12:53

Santos - Dumont flying one of his later designs, a Demoiselle, in 1909;



coincidentally, a plane of this type featured in the film Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines
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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Sun 20 Nov 2016, 13:52

Further to Meles' posts last month on the Dish of the Day thread and the Tumbleweed Suite about catering in the early days of passenger flight and early aeroplanes generally, a replica of the gorgeous Junkers F13 monoplane (the world's first all metal aircraft) has been rebuilt by a company which manufactures corrugated luggage:



And 3 years short of its 100th birthday, the plane flew again this year for the first time in over 50 years:

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PostSubject: Re: Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines   Sat 17 Dec 2016, 15:18

I'm sure this has already been mentioned in the thread but the opening page when I loaded Chrome today brought up something about the Wright Brothers.  Seems it's the anniversary of when they made their first flight.  I had not realised that there are those who dispute that they were actually the first people to fly or that that flight was really a bona fide one  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_brothers  Maybe this should be in the thread called something like 'This Day in History' but I can't find that at present.
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