Wright Brothers 1901 Glider

The Wright brothers were off and running with their ideas for manned flight. The camber of their wing matched that of the wings used by Lilienthal. Unfortunately, Lilienthal’s figures were incorrect due to an error in the Smeaton coefficient. To get around this, the Wright’s came up with a way to modify the curvature of the wing.

The poor results from these tests led the brothers to undertake wind tunnel tests of their own.

Read more about the Wright Brothers in Modeling Ships and Space Craft: The Science and Art of Mastering the Oceans and Sky by Gina Hagler — Part III – Scale Model Testing Begins, Chapter Nine – The Wright Brothers

Wright Brothers Wing Warping Test 1899

The Wright brothers were able to control the flight of their manned aircraft through the use of wing warping. Far more sophisticated than Lilienthal’s use of shifting body weight, wing warping allowed aerodynamic control of the wing.

The Wright brothers were meticulous in their research. This research, along with their can-do and innovative approach to flight, resulted in their first successful, controlled, heavier than air flight at Kitty Hawk.

Read more about the Wright Brothers in Modeling Ships and Space Craft: The Science and Art of Mastering the Oceans and Sky by Gina Hagler — Part III – Scale Model Testing Begins, Chapter Nine – The Wright Brothers

Wright Brothers 1903 Engine and Propellers

Read more about the Wright Brothers in Modeling Ships and Space Craft: The Science and Art of Mastering the Oceans and Sky by Gina Hagler — Part III – Scale Model Testing Begins, Chapter Nine – The Wright Brothers

Wright Brother Wind Tunnel Testing 1901

This video tells the story of the Wright Brother wind tunnel. As we’ll see later, this had to do with Lilienthal’s experiments and the Smeaton coefficient. For now, enjoy this video. The concepts will be important to us in a bit.

The development of their own wind tunnel and testing apparatus transformed the Wright brothers from tinkering innovators to the first aviation engineers!

Read more about the Wright Brothers in Modeling Ships and Space Craft: The Science and Art of Mastering the Oceans and Sky by Gina Hagler — Part III – Scale Model Testing Begins, Chapter Nine – The Wright Brothers

Smeaton’s Coefficient

John Smeaton (1724-1792) had a long and illustrious career as a civil an mechanical engineer. One byproduct of his work is something known as “Smeaton’s Coefficient.” This coefficient was derived from his work – not calculated by Smeaton himself. Unfortunately, the coefficient became of vital importance to the Lillienfeld,  the Wright Brothers, and other pioneers of aviation around the globe.

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John Smeaton

SmeatonJohn Smeaton (1725-1792) is the British engineer who published the 1759 paper, “An Experimental Enquiry Concerning the Natural Powers of Water and Wind to Turn Mills and Other Machines Depending on Circular Motion.” The theories Smeaton postulated to explain the relationship between pressure and velocity for objects moving in the air, applied to windmills. Smeaton won the Copley Medal for his work in 1759. Continue reading

Bernoulli Effect in Action


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Bernoulli Effect

Daniel Bernoulli’s (1700-1782) work is integral to the field of aerodynamics. It explains the way that air moves over a curved surface. As the air moves up and over the curved surface of an airplane wing, it must flow more quickly than the air moving in a straight path across the underside of the wing. The faster flow atop the wing results in less pressure over the top of the wing. This reduction in pressure on the top of the wing is offset by increased pressure upward from beneath the wing. The net result is what is known as lift. It is this lift that enables an airplane to fly, whales to stay afloat, and birds to take to the air.

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Daniel Bernoulli

UnknownDaniel Bernoulli (1700-1782) was a member of a well-respected family of Swiss scientists and mathematicians. His book, “Hydrodynamica,” published in 1793, coined the term “hydrodynamics.” Bernoulli’s fluid flow equations contributed to the success of the modern practice of testing scale models early in the design process. Continue reading

Pitot Tubes

What does a pitot tube look like? Here are a few examples. The first is a pitot tube. The second is a pitot tube affixed to the underside of an airplane wing, facing into the wind. The third is a diagram of the way a pitot tube is used to give readings a pilot can use during flight. Wait! There’s more!

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