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Balancing and steering the machine: the problem of control

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View Preview. Learn more Check out. Abstract Since the first attempt of a manned powered flight in by the Wright brothers it took until October to develop the first guided UAV called the Kettering Bug in the United States.

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They were essentially correct. Having flown their successful glider of , the Wright brothers were confident that their wings would lift the weight of a powered flying machine and that they could control such a craft in the air. Moreover, three years of experience with gliders, and the information gathered with their wind tunnel , enabled them to calculate the precise amount of power required for sustained flight. Unable to interest an experienced manufacturer in producing an engine meeting their relatively narrow power-for-weight specifications, the brothers designed and built their own power plant.

Charles Taylor, a machinist whom the brothers employed in their bicycle shop, produced a four-cylinder engine with a cast aluminum block that produced roughly It was by no means the most advanced or efficient aeronautical power plant in the world. Langley , who was also building a full-scale powered flying machine, spent thousands of dollars to produce a five-cylinder radial engine with a total weight equal to that of the Wright engine but developing Langley produced an engine far superior to that of the Wright brothers—and an airplane, the aerodrome No.

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The design of the propellers for the airplane represented a much more difficult task, and a much greater technical achievement, than the development of the engine. The propellers not only had to be efficient but had to produce a calculated amount of thrust when operated at a particular speed by the engine. It is important to recognize, however, that once powered flight had been achieved, the development of more powerful and efficient engines became an essential element in the drive to improve aircraft performance.

Having decided that the design of wings and the development of a power plant were fairly well in hand, the Wright brothers focused on the element of control. Other experimenters had given some thought to the subject. Cayley was the first to use an elevator for control in pitch directing the nose up and down. Throughout the second half of the 19th century, airships had used rudders for yaw control directing the nose to the right and left.


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It was far more difficult to conceive of a way to control an aircraft in roll that is, balancing the wingtips or banking the aircraft. Moreover, most experimenters were convinced that the operator of a flying machine would find it difficult or impossible to exercise full control over a machine that was free to operate in all three axes of motion at once. As a result, far more thought had been given to the means of achieving automatic or inherent stability than to active control systems.

Cayley, for example, suggested dihedral wings wingtips angled up from the midpoint of the wing as a means of achieving a measure of stability in roll; he also recommended the use of a pendulum to control pitch. French aviation pioneer Alphonse Penaud was the first to produce an inherently stable aircraft, the Planophore , which featured a pusher propeller powered by twisted rubber strands.

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The hand-launched model featured dihedral wings for stability in roll and a horizontal surface set at a slight negative angle with regard to the wings to provide stability in pitch. With the addition of a vertical surface for stability in yaw, this was the approach taken by virtually all experimenters with model aircraft, including Langley. Environmental Challenge Aviation is increasingly being recognised as a small, but rapidly growing source of environmental pollutants, including noise.

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