Some data on the invention of the airplane and the new airplane industry

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Some data on the invention of the airplane and the new airplane industry

by Peter B. Meyer1,2

Office of Productivity and Technology, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

5 April 2010

This work is preliminary and incomplete.


The purpose of this paper is to establish a set of quantitative historical facts and their sources about the invention of the airplane and the rise of aircraft-related organizations and industries. This will support the study and analytical modeling of how an invention comes about and leads to a new industry. The facts as presented here will have errors, omissions, and ambiguities, which can be corrected, improved, and clarified over time.

Table of contents

Appendix A. Sources 4

Appendix B. Early fixed-wing aircraft makers 6

Appendix C. Key individuals in the early aircraft industry 80

Notes on Sikorsky from SY: In 1899 at the age of 10, built a spring-driven model of a helicopter. In 1909, his sister Olga Sikorsky funded his purchase 122

in France of an Anzani 25-horsepower engine, the same engine used by Bleriot in his epic flight across the English channel in July of that 122

year. Imperial Grand Duke Alexander in 1910 encouraged founding of Imperial All-Russian Aero Club (which lasted until 1917). In 1911 122

Sikorsky earned pilot's license No. 64. In 1910, after two unsuccessful attempts to build a helicopter, Sikorsky launched his "S" series 122

of monoplanes and biplanes. The S-1 with modest 15-hp engine, did not fly but served as test bed for perfecting control during high-speed 122

ground runs. Breakthrough came 122

in the spring 1911 with the flyable S-5, powered by Argus 50-hp engine. He made short cross-country flights at altitudes of up to 1500 feet. 122

In 1912 moved to St. Petersburg to head new aviation factory of Russo-Baltic Wagon Company. 122

pring-driven model of a helicopter. 122

Between early May 1909 and mid-December 1910, Sikorsky constructed a helicopter with the 25-h.p. engine that failed to fly; 122

two air-driven sleighs that glided on snow; a helicopter 122

powered with a new 25-h.p. Anzani engine that lifted but could not carry the weight of an operator; the S-1 pusher biplane 122

that lifted but whose 15 h.p. Anzani motor did not provide enough power for it to fly; the S-2 pusher biplane powered by the 122

second 25 h.p. Anzani motor, which made several flights of under 60 seconds each, but eventually was destroyed in a crash landing; 122

and the S-3, powered by a 40-h.p. Anzani engine, whose career consisted of 13 flights and about seven minutes of air time in a little 122

over a week before being damaged in a hard landing. In April 1911, tests began on both the S-4, which was an improvement on the S-3, 122

and the S-5, which had a 50-h.p. water-cooled Argus motor, a larger wing area, and different control arrangements. On 17 May 1911, 122

Sikorsky flew the S-5 for about four minutes on a pre-determined course, returning close to the point of departure, and by mid-summer 122

he was able to stay in the air for a half hour at 1,000 feet of altitutde. He then went on to build the S-6 that, disassembled and 122

rebuilt, became the S-6-A, which by early 1912, at a speed of 113 km. per hour (about 70 miles per hour), had exceeded the world record 122

of speed for a plane with a pilot and two passengers. In February 123

1912, the S-6-A received the highest award in the Moscow aircraft exhibition. Meanwhile, in the fall of 1911, he earned F.A.I. pilot 123

license No. 64 from the Imperial All-Russian Aero Club, which had been founded in 1910 by The Imperial Grand Duke Alexander. (Note: 123

the Aero Club lasted until 1917). In the spring of 1912, Sikorsky sold his design rights on the S-6-A and all other designs and 123

inventions in aviation that he had or would have in the next five years to come to the Russian-Baltic Railroad Car Factory and 123

accepted a position with them as designer and chief engineer of an aircraft subsidiary that he would establish in St. Petersburg. 123

Additional Note 1: While known later in the United States as a builder of helicopters, Sikorsky built no helicopters in the period 123

between 1910 and 1939, when his U.S. factory produced its first helicopter. Additional Note 2: IS10. Before the 1917 Revolution, 123

Russia followed the Julian calendar, which in the 20th Century, was 13 days behind the Gregorian or Western calendar. Dates in IS 123

have been converted to the Gregorian calendar. It would appear from one instance in 1913 when a date in WS was 13 days earlier than 123

a date in IS, that for exact dates above, WS used Gregorian dates.Codes for sources specific to Sikorsky:[[IS]] = K.N. Finne, ''Igor 123

Sikorsky,the Russian Years;'' translated and adapted by Von Hardesty; Carl J. Bobrow and Von Hardesty, eds., Washington, D.C.: 123

Smithsonian Institution Press, 1987. 123

[[WS]] = Igor I. Sikorsky, ''The Story of the Winged-S,'' New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1967 ed. 123

Appendix D. Patents before 1907 124

Appendix E. References to individuals in Chanute’s 1894 Progress in Flying Machines 149

Appendix F. Counts of letters amongst these innovators 151

Appendix G. References in historical accounts. 153

Appendix H. Authors in Brockett’s aeronautics bibliography up to 1910 154

Appendix I. What the Wrights had read before 1903 155

Appendix J. Education levels of the experimenters and authors 156

Appendix K. Aeronautical clubs 157

Appendix L. Aeronautical journals 167

Appendix L. Aeronautical journals as of 1920….……………………………………………………………162

Appendix A. Sources

References to sources are compressed in the following tables.
The Aeronautical Directory of the World. 1920. London: The Aeroplane & General Publishing Co., Ltd. (abbreviated Dir1920 in tables)

Anderson, John D. 1997 A History of Aerodynamics.

Crouch, Tom. 1981/2002 Dream of Wings: Americans and the Airplane, 1875-1905.

Dale, Henry. 1992. Early Flying Machines. Oxford University Press.

The Flying Book, 1914 edition. 1914. Longmans, Green and Co., London; The Aviation World publishing Co., Ltd., Richmond Hill, Bournemout, Great Britain. (abbreviated FB14 in later tables)

Garber, Lester W. 2005. The Wright Brothers and the Birth of Aviation. Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK: The Crowood Press.

Gibbs-Smith, Charles. 1966. The Invention of the Aeroplane.

Gunston, Bill. 1993. World Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers: From the Pioneers to the Present Day. Naval Institute Press: Annapolis, Maryland; and Haynes Publishing/Patrick Stephens Ltd, Sparkford Somerset, UK. (abbreviated simply G in the subsequent tables; e.g.G104 refers to page 104 of this work)

Gunston, Bill. 2005. World Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers: From the Pioneers to the Present Day, 2nd edition. The History Press. (abbreviated 2dG in later tables here)

Hallion, Richard P. 2003. Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age from Antiquity through the First World War. Oxford University Press.

Hoffman, Paul. 2003. Wings of Madness: Alberto Santos-Dumont and the Invention of Flight. Theia: New York.

Jakab, Peter L. 1990. Visions of a Flying Machine: The Wright Brothers and the Process of Invention. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Jarrett, Philip. 1987. Another Icarus: Percy Pilcher and the Quest for Flight. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Kelly, Maurice. 2006. Steam in the Air: the Application of Steam Power in Aviation during the 19th and 20th Centuries. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England: Pen & Sword Aviation.

Palmer, Scott W. 2006. Dictatorship of the Air: Aviation Culture and the Fate of Modern Russia. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Penrose, Harald. An Ancient Air: A Biography of John Stringfellow of Chard, The Victorian aeronautical pioneer. First published 1988 by Airlife Publishing Ltd; this edition 2000 by Wrens Park Publishing, an imprint of W.J. Williams & Son, Ltd.

Randolph, Stella. 1966. Before the Wrights flew: the Story of Gustave Whitehead. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Roseberry, C.R. Glenn Curtiss: Pioneer of Flight. 1972 by C.R. Roseberry. My edition: 1991 Syracuse University Press.

Shulman, Seth. 2002. Unlocking the Sky: Glenn Hammond Curtiss and the race to invent the airplane. HarperCollins.

Tobin, James. 2003. To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight. New York: Free Press (Simon & Schuster).

Von Kármán, Theodore. 1954. Aerodynamics: Selected topics in the light of their historical development. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

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