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To: Gumlegs

Thanks for the info. It seems ironic that the Military would name an airfield and the first aircraft carrier after him, given the financial boondoggle his manned flight epxeriments were. I guess you could consider his houseboat/catapult contraption to be the first prototype of an aircraft carrier.


BTW, your link works fine


42 posted on 07/09/2006 1:17:23 PM PDT by eeman
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To: eeman
Glad the link worked.

I'm not sure that "boondoggle" is really fitting for the good Professor, who was associated with the Smithsonian. IIRC, he was engaged in an honest attempt to achieve manned flight. Admittedly, he didn't succeed, which meant that the money backing him went down the drain. In later years, aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss rebuilt Langley's aerodrome in an attempt to prove that it would have worked had it not been damaged in takeoff. (Curtiss was involved in a dispute with the Wright Brothers, and spent a lot of time trying to show them up. Curtiss also wasn't above "improving" on Langley's design just a wee bit to make sure it worked well enough).

However, this is all from memory, and I haven't kept up on the latest research. Has Langley been discredited somehow?

43 posted on 07/09/2006 1:55:12 PM PDT by Gumlegs
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To: eeman
Thanks for the info. It seems ironic that the Military would name an airfield and the first aircraft carrier after him, given the financial boondoggle his manned flight epxeriments were

The Wright brothers were in communications with him, and learned a lot from his failures. They, not being academics, or even engineers, but rather bicycle mechanics, took a somewhat different approach. They did however do their development the way engineers probably would have. They constructed models, and prototypes. They built a wind tunnel to evaluate airfoil designs, and IIRC stability. (Their original flier was unstable in pitch, but the instability was controllable by the pilot. Now we have airplanes that are one again unstable or marginally stable in pitch, it has advantages in the drag arena, but the control is done by computers, because human reflexes just are not fast enough.)

46 posted on 07/09/2006 2:00:08 PM PDT by El Gato
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