Wright Flyer III

Wright Flyer III Video - Picture

Airplane Picture - Start of the first flight of Flyer III, June 23, 1905, Orville at the controls. The catapult tower, which they began using in September 1904, is at right. It helped accelerate the aircraft to takeoff speed. The Flyer looks virtually identical to the previous two powered versions, but noticeably different from its later appearance, after the Wrights extended and enlarged the elevator and rudder. The two men are probably Wilbur (running behind the airplane) and Charles Edward Taylor (at right), the Wrights' mechanic who built their first aircraft engine.

Wright Flyer III Information

Wright Flyer III

: The Wright Flyer III over Huffman Prairie, October 4, 1905, Orville piloting. Note he is still in a prone position, which would not be changed by the brothers until 1908.
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The Wright Flyer III was the third powered aircraft built by the Wright Brothers. Orville Wright made the first flight with it on June 23, 1905. The Flyer III had an airframe of spruce construction with a wing camber of 1-in-20 as used in 1903, rather than the less effective 1-in-25 used in 1904. The new machine was equipped with the engine and other hardware from the scrapped Flyer II and was essentially the same design and same performance as Flyers I and II.

Modification

Orville suffered a serious nose-dive crash in the Flyer on July 14, 1905. When rebuilding the airplane, the Wrights made important design changes. They almost doubled the size of the elevator and rudder and moved them about twice the distance from the wings. They added two fixed half-moon shaped vertical vanes (called "blinkers") between the elevators (but later removed) and widened the skid-undercarriage which helped give the wings a very slight dihedral. They disconnected the rudder of the rebuilt Flyer III from the wing-warping control, and as in most future aircraft, placed it on a separate control handle. They also installed a larger fuel tank and mounted two radiators on front and back struts for extra coolant to the engine for the anticipated lengthy duration flights. When testing of Flyer III resumed in September, improvement was immediate. The pitch instability that had hampered Flyers I and II was brought under control. Crashes, some severe, stopped. Flights with the redesigned aircraft started lasting over 20 minutes. The Flyer III became practical and dependable, flying reliably for significant durations and bringing its pilot back to the starting point safely and landing without damage.

On October 5, 1905, Wilbur flew 24 miles (38.9 km) in 39 minutes 23 seconds, longer than the total duration of all the flights of 1903 and 1904. Four days later, they wrote to the United States Secretary of War William Howard Taft, offering to sell the world's first practical fixed-wing aircraft.

Flying at Kill Devil Hills

To keep their knowledge from falling into competitors' hands, the Wrights stopped flying and disassembled the airplane on November 7, 1905. Two and a half years later, having won American and French contracts to sell their airplane, they refurbished the Flyer with seats for a pilot and passenger and equipped it with upright control levers and installed one of their new 35 horsepower in-line vertical engines. They shipped it to North Carolina and made practice flights near the Kill Devil Hills from May 6 to 14, 1908 to test the new controls and the Flyer's passenger-carrying abilities. On May 14, 1908 Wilbur took up mechanic Charles Furnas, making Furnas the first passenger the brothers ever flew. Orville also flew with Furnas for four minutes. Orville's flight with Furnas was seen by newspaper reporters, hiding out in the sand dunes, who mistakenly thought both Wilbur & Orville were flying together. Later that day, Wilbur was flying solo when he moved one of the new control levers the wrong way and crashed into a sand dune, suffering bruises. The Flyer's front elevator was wrecked and the practice flights ended.

Preservation

Flyer III was left in the North Carolina hangar unrepaired. In 1911 the Berkshire Museum of Pittsfield, Massachusetts obtained virtually all of the components from both the abandoned Flyer and the 1911 Wright glider, but never assembled or exhibited them. The parts of the 1905 aircraft remained in Massachusetts for almost forty years, until Orville requested their return in 1946 for the Flyer's restoration as a central exhibit at Edward A. Deeds' Carillon Park in Dayton, Ohio. Some Kitty Hawk residents also possessed pieces of the 1905 airplane; Deeds and Orville also obtained many of these for the restoration. At the end of the 1947-1950 restoration process, craftsmen estimated that the 1905 aircraft retained between 60 and 85% of its original material. The 1905 airplane is now displayed in the Wright Brothers Aviation Center at Carillon Historical Park and is a part of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. The restored 1905 Wright Flyer III is the only fixed-wing aircraft to be designated a National Historic Landmark.

Airplane Picture - Start of the first flight of Flyer III, June 23, 1905, Orville at the controls. The catapult tower, which they began using in September 1904, is at right. It helped accelerate the aircraft to takeoff speed. The Flyer looks virtually identical to the previous two powered versions, but noticeably different from its later appearance, after the Wrights extended and enlarged the elevator and rudder. The two men are probably Wilbur (running behind the airplane) and Charles Edward Taylor (at right), the Wrights' mechanic who built their first aircraft engine.

Picture - Start of the first flight of Flyer III, June 23, 1905, Orville at the controls. The catapult tower, which they began using in September 1904, is at right. It helped accelerate the aircraft to takeoff speed. The Flyer looks virtually identical to the previous two powered versions, but noticeably different from its later appearance, after the Wrights extended and enlarged the elevator and rudder. The two men are probably Wilbur (running behind the airplane) and Charles Edward Taylor (at right), the Wrights' mechanic who built their first aircraft engine.

Found artifact

A historic missing piece of Flyer III, thought to be a piece of Flyer I, turned up in 2010 in the hands of Palmer Wood whose uncle, Thomas, had given him the piece in the 1960s. Wood took the piece to Brian Coughlin, an aircraft collector, who not knowing what the piece was took it to Peter Jakab of the Smithsonian Institution. The missing piece is the actuator, that connects the moment chain or arm(the Wrights still used chain link in 1905) to the front canard. In the 1940s Orville gathered all of the stray pieces of the Flyer, that were not in Massachusetts, from Kitty Hawk locals who as children raided the Wrights 1908 hangar for souvenirs. The actuator piece, which more than likely broke away in Wilbur's sand dune crash of May 14, 1908, somehow missed Orville's gathering efforts and was replaced with a solid or flanged piece which the Wrights did not start using until 1908. According to Peter Jakab the flanged piece is not accurate to the 1905 configuration of the Flyer III. The Wrights in 1905 used a wood assembly joined together by small flat plates and screws. The solid flat piece now on the Flyer was substituted in the 1947-50 restoration for the missing actuator.

Specifications (Flyer III)

Airplane Picture - Ohio 50 State Quarter features the 1905 Wright Flyer III built and flown in Ohio, as shown in the famous photo from Huffman Prairie

Picture - Ohio 50 State Quarter features the 1905 Wright Flyer III built and flown in Ohio, as shown in the famous photo from Huffman Prairie

Data from Sharpe, 2000. p 311.

General characteristics

Crew: one pilot
Capacity: one pilot
Length: 28 ft 0 in (8.54 m)
Wingspan: 40 ft 4 in (12.29 m)
Height: 8 ft 0 in (2.44 m)
Wing area: 503 ft (46.8 m)
Empty weight: lb (kg)
Loaded weight: 710 lb (323 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 710 lb (323 kg)
Powerplant: x water-cooled, 4-cylinder inline engine 20 hp 14.9 kW, two Wright elliptical propellers later changed to two Wright "bent-end" propellers, () each

Performance

Maximum speed: 35 mph (56 km/h)
Range: 25 miles (as of October 1905) (km)
Service ceiling: 50 to 100 ft (as of October 1905) (m)
Rate of climb: ft/min (m/min)
Wing loading: 1.4 lb/ft (7 kg/m)
Power/mass: 0.03 hp/lb (0.05 kW/kg)

Bibliography

Sharpe, Michael (2000). Biplanes, Triplanes, and Seaplanes. London: Friedman/Fairfax Books. ISBN 1-58663-300-7.

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Source: WikiPedia

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